It’s been years since you bought a propane tank on your forklift; it has serviced your equipment well, it is time to give a good service back to your tank in order for it to operate safely and lengthen its lifespan.
How are you going to service the tank? Just like any other tanks, forklift propane tanks need to be recertified to keep them in good condition. When it was bought brand new, it needs to be re-certified 10 years from the date of its manufacture; however, if it was bought in used condition, the recertification is every 5 years. To ensure that the forklift propane tanks are in good working order and up-to-date with industry standards, those periods must be followed.
These periods apply whether you have a steel or aluminum type. If you’re in other countries other than the US, these periods may vary. To find out the dates, look at the collar of the tanks. Important details are stamped into the collar such as the manufacturing and expiry dates, tear weight (TW), and water storage capacity (WC).
The recertification process is done by a qualified professional or by an authorized dealer. When you notice a smell of rotten eggs or an accumulation of rust on the body, you need to check its collar to see the re-certification date, it may have already lapsed.
Sometimes, for a forklift propane tank that is too rusted, you may no longer have to re-certify it, buying a brand new tank or used one in good condition may be the better option. You can contact a local dealer in your area, it is just a phone call away.
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How Much Does It Cost You?
The below figures are surveyed/researched from the three (3) reputable companies in the industry. As of July 2022, the cost involved in recertifying propane tanks are the following:
|Cylinder Size||Company A||Company B||Company C|
We did not reveal the name of each company we researched to protect their reputation. But if you refer to the above table, you may now have an idea on how much you are going to pay.
The cost of recertification depends on the following aspects:
- The capacity of the propane tank – the higher the capacity, the more costly the tank.
- The age of the tank – the older the tank, the higher the cost is.
- The professional or company doing the recertification – the more established and reputable the company is, the higher the rates are.
- Material of the tank – steel vs aluminum
- Damage to the tank – such as dents and corrosion
Propane Tank Recertification is Trending in the Past Years
Google Trends data can be used to analyze the popularity of the topic “tank recertification” in the past 18 years as shown in the line chart below. It’s a great way for us to get an overview of what people are trending on this topic. See the image below:
If you notice the line is in the upward direction. The use of forklift propane tanks has been on the rise for the past few years as the data shows it. With great demands comes with great risk in the use of these containers; managers and owners of forklift equipment need to take safety precautions and laws have to be complied with.
How to Recertify a Forklift Propane Tank?
Ordinarily, during inspection of the tank, you may have noticed that its expiration has crossed. This is the only time you act for its retest.
Retest is done by a qualified technician, usually employed by a dealer or supplier. You may instinctively call one of these companies to do the recertification which is the right thing to do. If you just have a few tanks due for retesting, you can have them dropped off at the company premises; or if you have a large number of tanks, you can have an agreement with the company to pick them up.
Some company may offer an exchange for an expired tank which is a good option to take especially when the tank is relatively old and corroded. You just have to pay extra for the exchange.
Be reminded, according to 49 CFR § 180.205 (b), that no individual is allowed to recertify unless he is a qualified technician or skill professional who is trained to do such. This regulation has to be complied with as it is a safety risk to let someone unqualified do the recertification.
Government Regulations Related to Propane Tanks Requalification
With regards to this matter, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Requalification/Retesting (49 CFR § 180.205) is enforced. The regulation details everything about recertification plus other complete details. To read more about the regulation, see this page.
The goal of this regulation is to ensure that all propane tanks in the United States are up to date with safety standards, and that they are don’t post risk to the health and safety of the people working with these containers.
Governing Organizations for the Safety of Use Propane
There are a few different organizations that govern the safe use of propane. The first is the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NFPA is a national organization that sets standards for fire safety. The NFPA 58 was developed to cover the storage, handling, transportation, and use of liquefied petroleum gas. This standard covers the inspection, testing, and recertification of propane tanks. It is important to note that the NFPA does not actually recertify propane tanks, but rather provides the guidelines for safe use and storage.
The second organization is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). ASME is a national organization that sets standards for mechanical engineering. They have a standard for the recertification of propane tanks, which is ASME Pamphlet P-1. This standard covers the inspection, testing, and recertification of propane tanks. It is important to note that the ASME does not actually recertify propane tanks, but rather provides the standards for recertification.
The third organization is the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT is a national organization that sets standards for transportation. They have a standard for the recertification of propane tanks, which is DOT CFR 49. This standard covers the cylinder requalification inspection and marking guidance. It is important to note that the DOT does not actually recertify propane tanks, but rather provides the standards for recertification.
OSHA has its own standards concerning about the storage and handling of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (29 CFR 1910.110) and fire protection and prevention (29 CFR 1926.153).
In conclusion, there are three main organizations that recertify propane tanks: the NFPA, the ASME, the DOT and OSHA. Each of these organizations has their own standard for the recertification of propane tanks.
Stay Safe – Periodically Check Your Forklift Tank’s Collar
If your company has a large fleet of propane-powered forklifts, periodically checking the expiry date of each of the tank being used by the operators is a good safety practice. Failure to check the expiry date is quite common, but it doesn’t have to remain that way.
Keep a record of all the propane tanks in the workplace. You can create a template of inspection checklist indicating the identification number, type of tank (steel or aluminium), expiry date, manufactured date, and other data that may be deemed necessary for the recording.
At least once or twice a month, you can have someone verify by going through the inspection checklist to find out what are those cylinders nearing expiration or those that already due for re-certification. In this way, you feel comfortable knowing that large number of forklift tanks are monitored to prevent lapses in re-certification.
Some workers or superiors may think that they can wait until their next equipment inspection or annual inspection before they get their forklift propane tanks re-certified, but that’s not the case. You need to follow re-certification period as mentioned above or else your tank will become inoperative and a safety hazard.
Some Safety Guidelines to Take Note Of
- If you intend to refill your container, and the refilling company found out that it is due for recertification, it may not be allowed to be refilled. It is a safety hazard to refill an expired tank.
- Completely empty the tanks of gas before transporting. In this way, you don’t post risks such as ignition and explosion.
- Regularly inspect your container and maintenance checklist and repair history to track their conditions. It is just maintaining a car’s preventive maintenance schedule.
- Don’t let forklift operators use expired forklift propane tanks. This may cause gas leaks leading to an accident in the workplace.
Importance of Regular Inspection
In order to ensure that propane tanks are safe to use, they must be regularly inspected and recertified by a qualified individual. The recertification process typically involves a visual inspection of the tank, as well as a pressure test to ensure that the tank can safely hold propane. If the tank is found to be in good condition, it will be recertified and can be used for another several years. If the tank is not in good condition, it will need to be repaired or replaced before it can be used again.
The consequences of not recertifying propane tanks can be very serious. If a propane tank is not recertified, it may leak, catch fire, or explode. This could cause serious injury or death. It is important to make sure that propane tanks are recertified every few years to avoid these dangers.
To Make a Conclusion
The use of propane forklifts has been the main contributor to the triumph of many businesses. However, we should not forget what power these machines – their tanks. Propane tanks are a great choice for powering not only forklifts but other heavy equipment as well because they are relatively safe to handle, easy to store in the workplace, and affordable compared to other fuels.
However, we need to keep the container in tip-top condition because over time they will reach their expiration date and must be re-certified before they can be safely used again.
Mike is an experienced propane technician with over 15 years of professional experience in the field. He has dedicated his career to helping customers with their propane needs, from installation to maintenance and repair. Together with Jeremy, he co-founded this website to provide useful information and guidance to customers seeking reliable propane services.