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Forklift Trucks - Safe Handling of Propane (LPG) Fuel

h2>What should an operator do when handling a propane fuel cylinder?

LPG stands for Liquid Petroleum Gas.

Installed Position and Storage Position

What steps should operators follow when changing fuel tanks?

Procedure for changing propane (LPG) cylinders:

  1. Park the forklift in a low traffic and well-ventilated area. Put forklift controls into the neutral position. Lower the forks to the ground and apply the parking brake.
  2. Wear eye protection and gloves such as leather or insulated neoprene.
  3. With the forklift engine running, dismount the forklift and close the valve on the cylinder.
  4. Run the engine until it is out of fuel and it stops. This step ensures that the fuel supply hose is empty.
  5. Turn the ignition key to the off position.
  6. Disconnect the fuel supply hose from the cylinder.
  7. Undo the latch or straps that secure the cylinder to the forklift.
  8. Remove the empty cylinder, using both hands (empty cylinders can be heavy).
  9. Inspect the replacement cylinder for damage. Do not use damaged cylinders, tag them for repair and store them safetly.
  10. Lift the replacement cylinder into position, using a proper lifting technique. Adjust the cylinder until it is properly aligned with the positioning pin to ensure the pressure relief valve is orientated correctly.
  11. Secure the cylinder to the forklift.
  12. Connect the fuel supply hose to the cylinder. Do not use tools because the valve is designed to be tightened by hand.
  13. Open the valve on the cylinder slowly and check for leaks. A one to two second hissing sound is normal, any longer indicates a leak. If available, use a solution of soap and water or a leak detector. 
    1. Smell(for a rotton egg smell)
    2. Listen (for gas escaping or hissing)
    3. Look (for frost or bubble if using a solution)
  1. If you detect a leak, close the valve and:
    1. Remove the hose and check the valve and hose connections for dirt and debris.
    2. Reconnect the hose and check for leaks again. If the leak persists, try a fresh cylinder.
    3. Reconnect the hose and check for leaks again. If the leak persists, put the forklift out of service.
    4. Tag any defective cylinders, hoses, or components for repair by qualified persons.
  1. If no leaks are detected, slowly open the valve fully.
  2. Make sure the hose is not kinked, twisted, or unsafely sticking out from the forklift.
  3. Start the engine and resume operation.

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

  • Do not use damaged cylinders, tag them for repair or disposal.
  • Do not operate forklifts that appear to have incomplete or improper repairs to the fuel system.
  • Do not use metal tools when changing a cylinder.
  • Do not use excessive force when opening or closing the valve.
  • Do not let the cylinder get too hot or be exposed to excessive heat.
  • Do not drag, drop, roll or slide the 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 LPG cylinders on the forklift than the truck was designed to hold.
  • Do not smoke when handling the cylinder or in the storage area.

How should propane cylinders be stored?

  • Store the cylinder in an upright position, in a well-ventilated area away from ignition sources and excessive temperatures, where it can be secured and is protected from being struck.
  • Protect cylinders from tipping over or falling. Use a chain or adequate support system. Consider securing each cylinder separately to prevent other cylinders from falling.
  • Do not store cylinders or park the forklift close to heat sources, doorways, aisles elevators, stairways, and exits.

Document last updated on September 14, 2022

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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.