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The trade association for the LPG industry in the UK

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UKLPG warns upcycling gas cylinders could land you in hot water

Although ‘upcycling’ may be the new ‘recycling’, the trade body representing the UK’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas industry, UKLPG, is warning budding artists and home renovators to think twice before cutting up old gas cylinders for their projects. Following a number of recent police interventions throughout the UK, the LP Gas industry is concerned that individuals may be taking their lives into their own hands, as converting gas cylinders in this way can be highly dangerous as well as being unlawful.

Rob Shuttleworth, CEO of UKLPG, comments: “LP Gas cylinders are portable, convenient and have a very good safety record, which is why they are used so widely in the UK to provide much needed heat and power.

“However, the isolated incidents of individuals irresponsibly selling, scrapping or converting these cylinders, thus risking life-changing injuries or even death should be a warning to everyone.”

LP Gas cylinders are safe when used correctly, in accordance with the manufacturer safety instructions. However, LP Gas is a highly combustible fuel and can explode if handled irresponsibly. Even if a cylinder appears empty, residue gas can be ignited by sparks caused by cutting the metal.

As well as the safety implications, tampering with cylinders or attempting to change their use is an unlawful offence which may result in legal action being taken against the perpetrator. Throughout the duration of their lives, gas cylinders remain the property of the gas cylinder company and should always be returned.

Part of British Transport Police, the National Metal Theft Fusion Intelligence Unit is working with the LP Gas industry to trace the dangerous and illegal use of gas cylinders.

Detective Inspector Darren Gough of British Transport Police said: “It is important that people recognise the cutting up, scrapping or selling of gas cylinders is illegal and must stop. Police officers are carrying out visits to individuals and organisations throughout the country and will seek prosecutions for handling stolen goods in the case of persistent offenders. As well as being illegal, this practice is also highly dangerous.”

Two of the industry’s largest suppliers of LP Gas, Calor Gas and Flogas, have also backed UKLPG’s call for a focus on safety.

Paul Blacklock, head of strategy and corporate affairs at Calor Gas, said: “Not only is sawing open a gas canister unlawful, it is also highly dangerous. Decommissioning a gas canister is an extremely hazardous process which should only be carried out by qualified technicians, in specialist facilities and by the bottled gas company that owns the cylinder.”

Alan Kirk, operations director at Flogas, added: “We’ve all seen the online clips of people who have taken a risk and cut into a cylinder for a project. However, they are the lucky ones. Any vessel which contains a highly flammable and potentially explosive substance must be handled responsibly.”

LP Gas and other industrial gases are sold to customers in reusable cylinders that remain the property of the individual supplier company. To arrange collection of cylinders or for specialist advice, call: 0845 017 7049.

UKLPG’s top five safety tips for handling gas cylinders are:

 

  • Store and use cylinders in an upright position in well-ventilated areas away from heat and ignition sources
  • Follow proper lifting techniques and ensure you have a firm grip when moving gas cylinders, as they can be heavy, wet or slippery and should not be dropped
  • Always replace safety caps and plugs when the bottle is empty or not in use, as well as checking hoses are in good condition and properly secured with clips
  • Make sure you display all relevant safety and operating notices prominently and close to the gas cylinder
  • Cylinders that appear empty may still contain gas – make sure they are sent back to the supplier company for refilling, refurbishment or decommissioning as required

 

For further safety advice, please visit our gas safety page.