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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Street Trading

Part 5 - Health and Safety at Work


Part 5 - Introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act re the guidance and use of LPG in mobile food vehicles.


Proprietors are reminded that the Health and Safety Executive is the Enforcement Authority for all health and safety legislation in mobile stalls and vehicles.  They should be contacted if you are in any doubt about health and safety matters.  The area offices are based at Victoria House, Ormskirk Road, Preston, PR1 1HH.

The following notes have been produced to assist you in the event of Liquefied Petroleum Gas fuel (LPG) being used in connection with your business.

5.1 General Requirements

5.1.1 Employers have a legal duty to employees including the provision of safe systems of work, provision of training and supervision, safe handling and storage of substances and articles and provision of a safe working environment.

5.1.2 Both employers and the self employed have a duty not to expose persons not being employees to any risk to their health and safety.  Such would include members of the public and patrons of the food business.

5.1.3 Employees must safeguard themselves and their colleagues and co-operate with their employer in connection with those duties imposed upon them.

5.1.4 Increasing concern is shown over the safety of LPG installations in catering vehicles and for cooking, water heating etc.  Precautions must be taken when fitting or using this type of installation.

5.1.5 The installation and maintenance of gas appliances, flues, pipework, valves etc., must be undertaken by a Corgi registered contractor and should comply fully with all relevant British Standards.

5.1.6 Generators used to provide electricity must be so placed to permit the dissipation of exhaust fumes and must be sited away from any gas container or appliance.  Quantities of petrol must not be carried; any storage or petrol must be in proper containers and kept away from any combustible or ignitable material or sources.

5.1.7 All persons working in mobile catering units must have adequate instruction, training and information on the hazards of LPG and action to be taken in the event of an emergency. Safe systems of work must be established particularly in the changing of cylinders and the safe use of appliances.

5.1.8 Cylinders must never be changed in the vicinity of a source of ignition, especially whilst smoking.

5.2  Liquefied Petroleum Gas fuel (LPG)

5.2.1 LPG is a convenient, easy to handle fuel but it is potentially dangerous material. LPG takes the form of commercial propane, marketed in red or orange cylinders and commercial butane marketed in blue, green or yellow cylinders.

5.2.2 The principal danger lies in the release of gas into a confined space which can result in a fire or explosion risk.   LPG is heavier than air, therefore, leaking gas will descend.

5.2.3 Containers or cylinders of LPG and any manifold and changeover valves must be positioned in the open air or separate ventilated housing outside the body of the vehicle.

5.3 LPG Storage Accommodation

5.3.1 The ventilated housing may be recessed into the body of the vehicle but must be gas tight so that escaping gas cannot be released within the vehicle itself.

5.3.2 Only LPG containers should be stored in the ventilated housing.

5.3.3 All cylinders must be securely attached to the vehicle with their valves uppermost, and readily accessible to permit the changing or quick removal when necessary.

5.3.4 The compartment or housing construction must be of non-combustible material giving at least 30 minutes fire resistance.  Joints are to be bonded or fire stopped to prevent fire or hot gas spreading into the vehicle.

5.3.5 Ventilation may be achieved by ventilating the base or side away from the vehicle; or both, using reinforced mesh or similar strong supporting construction.  Ventilation at low level is very important

5.3.6 The location of the housing should be such  to prevent damage to cylinders if subject to impact during a road traffic accident.

5.3.7 Access to the housing should only be from the outside of the vehicle and made secure to prevent tampering but containers must be accessible in emergencies.  In addition, the access point should be located on the nearside of the vehicle to minimise the risk of the operator being struck by a passing vehicle when changing the cylinders.

5.3.8 A notice should be fitted to the outside of the housing to indicate the presence of LPG, Pictorial signs must comply with Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulation 1996.

5.3.9 Sources of ignition must be prohibited within one metre from the storage housing: The exhaust pipe may require shielding to prevent it becoming a source of ignition. Any parts of the electrical installation must not pass through the housing unless protected from mechanical damage. The battery must be positioned carefully away from the housing to prevent the risk of ignition of any escaping gas.

5.4 Pipework and Joints

5.4.1 Pipework must be as short as reasonably practicable, must be LPG compatible, of adequate rating and resistant to corrosion and abrasion.
5.4.2 Pipework must be supported at intervals of not more than one metre, soft copper must be supported every half metre.

5.4.3 Pipework passing through walls/partitions must be protected by grommets to prevent abrasion/fracture.  Pipework passing beneath the vehicle must be installed to avoid mechanical damage from debris such as flying stones.

5.4.4 Pipework and fittings should be of solid drawn copper tube with copper or copper alloy fittings or stainless steel tube and appropriate compression or screw fittings.  Copper pipework should not be exposed to temperatures above 100 degrees C.

5.4.5 Pipework between the cylinder and regulating valve should be as short as possible.

5.4.6 Every pipe containing LPG should terminate with a readily accessible shut-off valve or tap immediately before the appliance and in a readily accessible position.  Taps should indicate clearly the open and shut positions and the directions they must be turned to close them.

5.4.7 A shut-off valve should also be fitted prior to the first appliance on the line from the cylinders.

5.5. Flexible Hoses

5.5.1. Lengths of flexible hoses must be kept to the minimum lengths necessary for essential flexibility.

5.5.2. High pressure hoses must be provided with integral threaded ends.

5.5.3. Low pressure hoses must be provided with either integral threaded ends or by crimping or he use of suitable hose clips (not worm driven).

5.5.4. Flexible hoses should not be used when temperatures exceed 50 degrees C unless braided or armoured.

5.5 Appliances

5.6.1 Appliances must be: Securely fastened to the vehicle and not capable of working loose; Sited to allow easy access so that, in an emergency, the means of escape is not endangered; Installed and used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions; Maintained and serviced only in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

5.6.2 Appliances must not be sited in a position where heat from them may create a fire hazard or cause damage to surrounding material.
5.6.3 A flame failure device, which shuts off the supply of gas if the flame becomes extinguished, are recommended to all appliances in all cases.
5.6.4 Appliances should not be lit when the vehicle is in motion except that LPG fuelled refrigerators may be used on the road when fitted with a flame failure device; an adequate flue (not necessary in trailers); is properly secured; does not show a naked flame.

5.6.5 Refrigerators, when used on the road, are recommended to have an additional air intake of not less than 13cm2 fitted in the floor of the vehicle below the refrigerator but must be sited to prevent a draught from extinguishing the burner or pilot flame.
5.6.6 Some refrigerators and freezers are also capable of running from a 12 volt battery source whilst the vehicle is in motion.  The use of such unit is encouraged.

5.6.7 Frying ranges should be fitted with: an automatic high temperature limit device which will shut off the main burner if the temperature exceeds 230 degrees C. an automatic temperature control to control the frying medium with a maximum setting of 205 degrees C.

5.6.8 Alternatively, a tap or valve should be fitted to control the main burner together with a visual temperature indicating device incorporating an alarm mechanism if the temperature of the frying medium exceeds the pre-set value.

 5.7 Ventilation

5.7.1 Adequate ventilation must be provided in every vehicle compartment where LPG fuelled appliances are used.

5.7.2 Suitable flues must be fitted to all appliances where required.

5.7.3 The use of flueless appliances should be avoided where possible.

5.8 Fire Precautions

5.8.1 Clear written instructions must be displayed inside the vehicle detailing action to be taken in the event of a fire or gas leakage.

5.8.2 A fire blanket should be provided, especially where frying is undertaken.

5.8.3 A dry powder fire extinguisher of 4.5kg capacity should be minimum provision and will be suitable for both LPG and fat fires.  Such must be located in a readily accessible position adjacent to an exit.

5.8.4 Access to and from the vehicle should be safe and free from obstructions.