Can You Store Forklift Propane Tanks Inside? (Allowable Quantity)

Can You Store Forklift Propane Tanks Inside?

Do you have a large number of propane-powered forklifts in your workplace? If so, I know you’re storing a large number of propane tanks as well.

Because of the volatile nature of propane gas, tanks have to be handled with extreme caution. Propane tanks are bulky and dangerous to store. You may now be wondering can you store forklift propane tanks inside?

We should not give a personal opinion on this matter because this question, although basic and simple, requires a correct answer because there is a safety risk involved in storing forklift tanks indoors.

To answer that question if forklift propane tanks can be stored inside, yes, forklift propane tanks can be stored either inside or outside the building or facility. However, the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.110 standard has to comply with, especially the 1910.110(f)(4)(i) and 1910.110(f)(5) regulations that specifically specify guidelines in the storage of propane tanks inside the building and room.

In addition to this, the NFPA 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code has its own provision with regard to this matter. To read this Code, visit this page. There are two (2) chapters that tackle this subject: 5-3.1 Storage within Buildings Frequented by the Public and 5-3.2 Storage within Buildings Not Frequented by the Public (Such as Industrial Buildings).

The OSHA regulation and the NFPA code don’t only discuss the safe storage of propane tanks indoors but also outdoor. So whatever you’re planning in your facility, it would be proper to refer to those rulings in order to comply. You won’t be having a hard time obeying those laws because they are almost identical.

At the end of the day, we all want a better and safer workplace where workers are protected from the inherent danger of handling and storing forklift propane tanks in the workplace.

How Much Liquefied Petroleum Gas Can Be Stored Indoor on the Job Site?

Again, this is another tricky question that requires an appropriate reply. Because of the volatility of the LP gas, it is a good safety practice to follow the quantity on how much can be stored in the facility or job site.

Let us again refer to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.110. In the said standard, there are two categories of storage, namely: buildings not frequented by the public and special buildings or rooms. In the latter category, the allowed quantity of LP gas that can be stored should not exceed 10,000 lbs; while in the former category, the quantity should not exceed 300 pounds (approximately 2,550 cubic feet in vapor form).

The NFPA Code chapter 5.3.2 (building not frequented by the public) says that the allowable quantity of LP gas in one location should not exceed 735 lb (334 kg) water capacity while in chapter 5.3.1 (building frequented by the public), the maximum quantity of LP-gas should not exceed 200 lb (91 kg).

With these figures in mind, you can now construct storage of tanks on the job site for safety and security.

Ways to Safely Store and handle Propane Tanks – To Avoid Accidents

Safe handling of forklift tanks and other cylinders is oftentimes not given importance in workplaces I had been. They’re just thrown around, knocked over, and even put somewhere else. This should not be the case. Below are some of the safety guidelines and practices you can follow in handling and storing these bottles:

  • Give your workers, especially those with the responsibility of refilling or exchanging tanks, specific training in the safe handling of propane tanks. You can contact a training provider in your area and send the workers to their facility to attend the training; or if you have a large number of workers, hire a third-party instructor to conduct the training onsite – onsite training is the most preferred way of delivering safety training to the workers.
  • Follow the allowable propane gas quantity that can be stored in one location. And always adhere to the OSHA standard and NFPA Code in the construction of storage and handling of LP gas. These standards and codes have been set forth to protect workers from accidents and business owners from hefty fines and penalties in the occurrence of accidents in the workplace.
  • Fire and explosion is the common accident when dealing with propane tanks – appropriate quantities and types of fire extinguishers must be provided near the storage location. The keyword here is “near”; it would be advisable to install an appropriate number of firex inside the storage itself.
  • Cylinders should be labeled accordingly. What does it mean? If you have many tanks and cylinders containing other gases, each bottle should be labeled for easy identification. In that way, propane or other gas would not be used accidentally in other applications.
  • Regular inspection of forklift propane tanks should be done. This is to eliminate bad potatoes from the rest of the cylinders. If you notice significant corrosion, dents and damage, that tank should be set aside for inspection. Recertification is to be done when the expiration is due.
  • Storage should be away from flammable materials and the source of ignition. This is pretty much self-explanatory. Smoking is prohibited when working inside the storage or when exchanging tanks.
  • Where there is a smell of rotten eggs, there is a good chance that there is a leak somewhere in the connection. The possible location of the leak is in the hose or valve. To check for leaks, use foamy soap when a detector is not available.
  • When storage is outdoor, it should be at least 20 feet away from any opening of the nearest building. In NFPA Code, the opening which is referred to in the previous sentence is any door, entrance, exit, window, or vent. When indoor, the storage should not block the entrance/exit, passageway, or corridor that is normally used by people in an emergency.
  • Manual handling training can be given to operators and workers involved in the storage and handling of these big bulky bottles. The intention of the provision of such training is to prevent workers from suffering an injury in manual handling.
  • Fire regulations vary from state to state, it is recommended to contact your local fire marshall for consultation when constructing tank storage.
  • follow the regulations on your state about storing propane tanks in apartments an other similar complexes.

Are propane tanks safe to store inside?

No. It is not safe to store propane tanks inside. Propane is a highly flammable gas, and if a tank were to leak, the consequences could be catastrophic. Additionally, propane tanks are often stored in close proximity to other flammable materials, such as gasoline or charcoal, which increases the risk of fire or explosion.

Storage of propane tanks, whether indoors or outdoors, should be in a well-ventilated area. If you must store a propane tank indoors, However, even with proper ventilation, there are still risks associated with indoor storage of propane tanks. The most significant risk is the potential for a fire.

Propane is highly flammable, and if there is a leak in the tank or the connection between the tank and the appliance, the resulting fire could be disastrous. Even if there is no leak, the build-up of propane vapors in an enclosed space can create an explosion hazard.

Another risk associated with indoor storage of propane tanks is the possibility of asphyxiation. Propane is heavier than air, so if there is a leak in the tank, the gas will settle near the floor where it can displace oxygen and cause asphyxiation.

For these reasons, it is best to avoid indoor storage of propane tanks whenever possible. If you must store a tank indoors, take precautions to reduce the risks as much as possible by ventilating the area well and keeping an eye out for leaks.

To Summarize This Article

It is important for companies to keep the storage forklift propane tanks organized and in a safe space. If the tanks are stored outside, they get exposed to extreme weather and corrosion. This may be the reason why many opted to store them inside.

When storing them indoors, it is recommended to follow the best safety practices because propane is dangerous and highly combustible. The last thing we don’t want to happen is an accident such as an explosion that could lead to serious injury and damage to property.

Let us reiterate this, forklift propane tanks can be stored inside and they can be also stored outdoor – where ever your preferred location might be.

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