Use of gas-fired oven cleaning equipment inside vehicles
Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert
Field Operations Directorate (FOD)
FOD1 - 2019
23rd October 2019
Suppliers, installers and users of gas-fired (LPG) oven cleaning equipment provided inside vehicles
HSE has investigated an incident whereby an oven cleaning van exploded, this has highlighted safety issues with gas-fired oven cleaning equipment provided inside vehicles. If this equipment is not installed and used correctly, it could result in a fire, explosion and/or asphyxiation. All users should take immediate action to comply with the expected health and safety standards, as explained in this safety alert.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has become aware of safety issues with gas-fired (LPG) oven cleaning equipment fitted inside vehicles, following an incident whereby a van exploded.
This safety alert provides details on how this equipment should be supplied, installed and used and is targeted at suppliers, installers and users of gas-fired oven cleaning equipment provided inside vehicles.
Mobile oven cleaning services typically use a van equipped with a dip tank to soak oven parts in hot cleaning solution at the customer's property. This solution is generally heated either electrically or by a gas burner supplied from a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder carried inside the vehicle. This safety alert solely focuses on the use of gas-fired equipment within these vehicles.
HSE has found that many vehicles fitted with gas-fired oven cleaning equipment are not being set up and used safely, giving rise to the risk of a gas release incident such as a fire, explosion and/or asphyxiation.
In order to operate the gas-fired equipment safely within vehicles, users should ensure:
- The LPG cylinders are carried upright in the vehicle and securely strapped to prevent movement.
- During transportation, cylinders are carried in a separate gas storage locker/compartment that is fire protected (a minimum of 30 minutes fire resistance), gas tight to the interior of the vehicle, ventilated to the outside (at high and low levels with the free area at least 1% of the compartment floor area or only at low levels with the free area at least 2% of the compartment floor area) and is in accordance with the design requirements of the UKLPG Code of Practice 24 – Part 3: Use of LPG for Commercial Catering Events, Street Food and Mobile Catering. Or alternatively, the cylinder can be stored outside the main body of the vehicle (in open air).
- Access to the gas cylinders is ideally external, although the loading of cylinders may be internal, providing the compartment door is gas tight and safe ventilation exists to outside.
- Due to the risk of oxygen deficiency, the driver is physically separated from the gas cylinder compartment, gas cylinder and gas ring. This can be achieved by fitting a gas tight partition bulkhead.
- There is no source of ignition within a zone extending 1 metre horizontal radius outside the vehicle and from ground level up to 0.3 metres above the cylinder compartment vent when the gas is in use. Shielding is provided, where necessary, to prevent exhaust pipes becoming an ignition source.
- The gas appliance (burner) is fitted with a flame supervision device (these shut off the gas supply automatically if the flame disappears).
- Suitable hoses and clips are used to prevent damaged hoses (eg smooth not serrated clips and hoses are suitably protected, such as, by armour or over-braiding).
- At least one quick acting (quarter turn) gas isolation valve is provided, to isolate any flame prior to cylinder isolation.
- The vehicle is fitted with at least one 2kg dry powder fire extinguisher.
- The rear door of the vehicle complies with The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations and consists of a red diamond showing a flame and wording "Extremely Flammable LPG".
- All persons that use the gas equipment are trained in how to use it and how to carry out visual checks for obvious faults.
- Equipment is not in use while the vehicle is in motion and the gas supply is turned off at the cylinder. The gas heating of liquids is only allowed when the vehicle is stationary, and the doors open for ventilation.
- Prior to first use, the gas installation is verified by a competent person (eg gas safe engineer).
If gas can be substituted with a substance or process which either eliminates or reduces the risk, then this should be chosen where it is reasonably practicable to do so.
Equipment found in use that presents a risk of serious injury to the users and/or persons in the vicinity will be subject to enforcement action. The expected standards above are not compulsory to follow, and you are free to take other equally effective action but if you do follow these standards you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters that the standards give advice.
Relevant Legal Documents
- Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Sections 2(1), 3(1) & 6 (1)
- The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, Regulations 6
For further information, please contact the Concerns and Advice Team.
UKLPG Code of Practice 24 – Part 3: Use of LPG for Commercial Catering Events, Street Food and Mobile Catering', on UKLPG's website.
Please share this information with a colleague who may have this product/ equipment or operate this type of system/process.