This safety alert advises NSW workplaces not to store or use portable LPG gas cylinders inside commercial kitchens. It is dangerous and illegal to use LPG gas appliances designed for ‘outdoor use only’, indoors. It puts workers and others at risk of fire, explosion and asphyxia, especially in commercial kitchens. Work carried out on any gas installations by a person without the appropriate licence, training and experience also puts workers and others at risk of serious injury from fire and explosion.

Background

SafeWork NSW has responded to several serious incidents at the workplace involving gas, which ignited and led to serious burn injuries. Whilst SafeWork NSW has focused its compliance programs on the inappropriate use of gas appliances connected to portable LPG cylinders indoors the latest incidents relate to work being carried out on fixed gas installations by unlicensed persons.

Recently two workers were seriously burnt and two commercial kitchens suffered significant property damage after work was carried out on fixed gas installations by unlicensed workers. On both occasions, the gas appliances had been removed from the fixed gas lines. The lines were left in an unsafe manner where gas could leak and find an ignition source.

Risks

The storage and use of portable gas cylinders which are located inside commercial kitchens can result in fire and explosion due to the unintended escape of LPG from gas cylinder valves, cylinder connections, regulators and flexible hoses.

Appliances designed for ‘outdoor use only’ must only be used outdoors in well ventilated areas. Indoor areas or confined spaces do not have sufficient ventilation to allow gas to burn properly.  This leads to a build-up of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, which can lead to asphyxia and death.

Gas appliances should only be sold, installed or used if they have been certified for use in Australia by a certifying assessment body accredited by NSW Fair Trading or other state and territory regulator. The use of uncertified appliances may result in fire and explosion due to component failure or absence of safety features.

Appliances also need to be used with the correct gas. For example, if an appliance is designed to use natural gas it is very dangerous to run it using LPG. Such use puts workers and customers at risk of fire, explosion and asphyxia.

Gas appliances need to be installed and maintained by a competent person to ensure they are functioning correctly and not creating a risk of fire. All work on gas appliances designed for connection to fixed consumer piping must be done by a licensed gas fitter.

Action required

  • Ensure any LPG appliances in commercial kitchens are not connected to a portable gas cylinder in the kitchen.
  • Remove any portable gas cylinders from inside commercial kitchens.
  • Check that any portable gas cylinders used to supply appliances are located on the outside of the building and that permanent piping is installed to connect to appliances inside.
  • Ensure all gas appliances, gas supply pipework and gas cylinder location for commercial kitchens are installed and maintained by a licensed gas fitter.
  • Only buy or use Australian certified gas appliances that are marked with an Australian recognised certification label.
  • Use LPG appliances only for their approved application.
  • Only use appliances with the correct gas. Never use LPG with natural gas appliances or vice versa.
  • Never use an outdoor appliance indoors.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Portable LPG cylinders must not be used or stored inside commercial kitchens

Portable LPG cylinders must not be used of stored inside commercial kitchens

Typical fixed gas installation - any work must be undertaken by a licenced gas fitter.

Typical fixed gas installation - any work must be undertaken by a licenced gas fitter.

Additional Information

For further information on LPG cylinder safety contact SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.

For further information on working on fixed gas installations contact NSW Fair Trading Gas and Electrical unit on 13 32 20 or the Fair Trading NSW gas safety page.

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