How safe is your LPG tank?By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Over the past 10 years, there have only been 1,782 cases of fire that were attributed to faulty cylinders containing cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
While the number might seem marginal, the irreparable damages and casualties wrought by these fires should not be taken lightly—especially more so when such incidents could easily happen to any household or commercial establishment, sooner than one can think.
After all, statistics have alarmingly showed that of the eight to 12 million 11-kilogram LPG cylinders circulating in the market today, only 50 percent have been deemed to be in good condition.
This means that half of the number of the LPG cylinders being used in households and commercial establishments are “ticking time bombs” ready to cause more damages and claim more lives.
In a recent forum hosted by Total Philippines, Mercedita Pastrana, executive director for LPG Industry Association Inc. (LPGIA), stresses the need for consumers to be alert and vigilant, and learn how to be safe and sure with the LPG cylinders they buy.
Pastrana warns consumers of the unsafe and unfair practices employed by companies who may be able to sell their goods at a much cheaper price, but will not think twice about putting their customers’ safety aside for that much revered profit.
These unscrupulous companies usually use uncertified and illegally manufactured cylinders, scrapped and dilapidated cylinders or under-filled tanks. They likewise engage in illegal refilling and cylinder tampering.
To help LPG consumers in securing their safety, Pastrana offers some do’s and don’ts in purchasing and handling LPG tanks.
Always ask for a receipt when buying LPG. This will ensure that one is buying from an authorized retailer.
Be sure that the cylinder is in good condition. Check for excessive rustiness and dents at the bottom part.
Have the tank installation or repair done by a trained and qualified LPG serviceman.
Observe and check the color of the flames. The flame must be blue in color, NOT yellow.
Clean your gas stove regularly and always check the condition of the LPG hose.
Ensure the cylinder is located in a well ventilated area. It must not be placed inside a cabinet.
Always handle LPG cylinders in an upright position.
Never look for a leak with match, candle or open flame.
Do not tamper with or try to repair the cylinder yourself, including removing the hose connection from the stove or regulator.
Do not accept an under-filled or defective cylinder. You can always have it weighed in authorized resellers. You must be able to choose a cylinder that is clean and free from any defects.
Never buy an unbranded LPG cylinder. The tank is always marked with the name of the company that sold it. Always check the markings.
On the part of the government, Pastrana says lawmakers must recognize the significance of passing the LPG Industry Regulation and Safety Act of 2011.
Total Philippines has already reiterated its support for the passage of the pending House bill as this can protect consumers from unsafe, underfilled and hazardous cylinders used largely for LPG.
According to the company’s manager for corporate communications Malou Espina, the passing of the LPG Industry Regulation and Safety Act will finally define the ownership of and accountability for the LPG cylinder and will grant the government, as well, the power to confiscate scrap, dilapidated and substandard cylinders.
The proposed bill will likewise increase penalties and sanctions for violations of consumer safety and will eventually promote fair and healthy competition in the local LPG industry, Pastrana adds.
Pastrana expresses confidence that the passage of the proposed House bill will help address all the unsafe LPG-related issues, thus advocating consumer safety.
Currently, 70 percent of LPG users are households, while 20 percent are commercial customers. The remaining 10 percent of users are motorists who use auto-LPG for their vehicles.
“Household LPG accounts for 70 percent of use in the country. This shows just how much we need to be vigilant about LPG safety,” Espina adds.
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