The use of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as a power source for fork lift trucks continues to increase. As it becomes more popular, it becomes ever more important that users understand how to use the fuel safely.
LPG is delivered in pressurised vessels allowing larger quantities of gas to be stored in a liquid state. This may be in the form of removable bottles on the truck or a fixed fuel ‘tank’ that can be filled locally from a ground-based bulk LPG installation. Both of these – the removable bottles and fixed tanks – are classed as ‘pressure vessels’ and therefore need to be inspected on a regular basis.
Phil Anderson, training coordinator from Calor, will explain at this year’s FLTA Safety Conference why being up-to-date on the safety issues is important and why the pressurised container inspections are necessary, when they must be done and who is responsible for carrying them out.
Phil commented: “Health and safety is one of the most important areas of materials handling and managers have a duty to ensure that their operators are fully trained.
“Whilst LPG can provide a safe, efficient and reliable fuel to power fork lift trucks, it is important to be aware of any potential hazards. The conference is an ideal platform to remind operators of the importance of good practice when operating and refuelling fork lifts.
“At Calor we are committed to working alongside new and existing customers to ensure safe refuelling procedures are followed every time.”
As the UK’s leading supplier of LPG – supplying over half of the LPG used to power fork lift trucks in the country – Calor is well established in the industry, with all the major manufacturers offering LPG powered vehicles in their product ranges. Health & safety is top of the agenda for the company, which is why Calor offers all if its customer’s places on its ‘Safe Refuelling Instruction’ courses. These are formalised, safe refuelling training courses developed by the company that also highlight other health & safety issues when dealing with LPG.
There are two levels of training that Calor provides:
1. Safe Refuelling for Managers and Supervisors
2. Safe Refuelling for Operators
Both are accredited and approved by the RTITB, the largest lift truck training accrediting body in the UK and Ireland, which is recognised by the HSE.
The courses are designed for people who carry out refuelling duties on LPG powered forklift trucks utilising Calor hand operated units (HDUs) or electric dispenser units (EDUs). It takes around seven hours to complete course one and three-hours to complete course two, delivered at a location to suit the recipient company.
Instruction involves a mix of both theory and practical elements and delegates are required to demonstrate an understanding of the instruction given and complete a written assessment. Successful delegates receive a certificate of competence and become a Calor approved fork lift truck LPG refuelling instructor or operator, depending on the course undertaken.
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To support these customer training courses Calor has also produced a pocket sized booklet called ‘A Guide to Safe Refuelling’. This covers personal safety, hazardous places and area classification, housekeeping, cylinder storage, separation distances, refuelling instructions, manual handling and action in an emergency.
Calor is also producing a ‘Safe Re-fuelling’ DVD for customers, providing a permanent reference point for new starters, as well as a reminder for longer-term employees. The DVD will be available in the autumn and supplied upon request. To receive a copy, email email@example.com quoting “FLT DVD” along with your customer number.
As with any fuel source, LPG can be a hazardous substance if not used properly, but the benefits far outweigh any health & safety issues. Thousands of businesses across the country use LPG to power a multitude of applications, including many household brands. The reasons for this are that LPG has several added benefits over other forklift truck fuel sources.
For example, independent tests commissioned by Calor demonstrated significant environmental benefits of using LPG over diesel. The tests demonstrated that LPG-fuelled trucks are significantly quieter – up to 10dB’s when in lifting mode* – offer a CO2 reduction of 23 per cent** and that particulate matter emissions – which makes diesel fork lift trucks unsuitable for indoor environments – are reduced by a staggering 97 per cent**. LPG fuelled forklift trucks therefore provide a significantly cleaner air quality than diesel.
In addition, introducing a three-way catalyst to an LPG forklift truck will reduce NO2 and carbon monoxide emissions to virtually zero. And LPG is also significantly more energy efficient than electric, since electricity generated from coal-fired power stations is just 38 per cent efficient.
Further innovations, unique to Calor, can increase forklift truck efficiency too. For example:
• The introduction of larger capacity fixed fuel tanks has seen businesses significantly reduce down time and manual handling;
• Magnatract® technology eliminates the potential risk of any fragmented metal particles affecting the fuel supply or forklift engine;
• Plastic dip tubes reduce the likelihood of damage within the cylinder when compared to traditional steel tubes.
Companies that are required to reduce carbon emissions as a result of the Carbon Reduction Commitment and small businesses looking to increase efficiencies in a tough economic climate can also benefit from LPG. Fixed fuel tanks for example can reduce down time and the versatility of LPG forklift trucks enabling them to operate both inside and out can also help increase efficiencies.
Calor has also invested in the UK’s largest LPG engineering back-up team, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as well as maintaining a national delivery fleet infrastructure capable of providing a dependable supply of gas for businesses up and down the country.
Paul Young, Calor Marketing Executive, said: “Customers choosing Calor can rest assured that health & safety is of the utmost importance to us. We are committed to ensuring both new and existing customers are aware of their responsibilities and Calor aims to work in partnership with them to ensure safe refuelling procedures are followed every time, which is why our sponsorship of the FLTA Safety Conference is important for us.”
* Results confirmed during testing at Millbrook Proving Ground, October 2010, Report No. MBK 10/1442
** Results confirmed during testing at Millbrook Proving Ground, October 2010, Report No. MBK 10/1034. Image of the filter test available on request
Tel: 0800 121 7841