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Forklift Trucks - Safe Handling of Propane (LPG) Fuel

What should an operator do when handling propane fuel?

  • Position the tank so the liquid propane does not come in contact with the relief valve.
  • Make sure the locking pin engages into the cylinder.
  • Make sure the valve is closed tightly.
  • Store the cylinder outside, in an upright position, in an area where it can be secured and is protected from being struck.
Installed Position and Storage Position
  • Put the cylinder down gently. Do not drop, dent or damage.
  • Always protect the valve from any damage.
  • Avoid contact with liquid propane, as it can cause frostbite.
  • Wear protective gloves while making or breaking connections
  • Ensure that only qualified persons repair carburetors and fuel supply systems.
  • For repairs, use only components that agencies such as the CSA Group (Canadian Standards Association) have approved.
  • Exchange removable cylinders outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, away from sources of ignition.
  • Close the valve before breaking connections.

What steps should operators follow when changing fuel tanks?

Procedure for changing propane (LPG) cylinders:

  1. Wear eye protection and insulated, loose fitting gloves such as leather (dry) or insulated neoprene.
  2. Close the valve on the cylinder.
  3. Run the engine until it stops. This ensures that the connection hose is empty.
  4. Shut off the engine.
  5. Open the connecting nut and inspect valves for leaking. Do NOT use metal tools.
  6. Disconnect the hose.
  7. Disconnect the holding straps.
  8. Remove the empty cylinder.
  9. Replace with a full cylinder in the proper position.
  10. Connect the holding straps.
  11. Tighten the connecting nut (wiggle hose).
  12. Open the valve on the cylinder slowly and check for leaks. Use solution of soap and water.  Smell – listen – look.
  13. If the valve leaks:
    1st time - Tighten the nut and continue.
    2nd time - Change the cylinder.
    3rd time - Change the hose.
  14. Open the valve fully (slowly).
  15. Check that the hose is turned inward.
  16. Secure the hose downward.
  17. Secure the cylinder.
  18. Start the engine and resume operation.

What should an operator not do when changing a propane tank (cylinder)?

  • Do not use metal tools when changing a cylinder.
  • Do not use excessive force when opening valve.
  • Do not let the cylinder get too hot.
  • Do not drag, drop, roll or slide cylinder or allow it to bang against other objects.
  • Do not use matches or a flame to check for leaks. Use soap or a leak detector.
  • Do not mount more than two LPG cylinders on any forklift truck.

Document last updated on October 13, 2006
Document confirmed current on June 7, 2013


Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.