How to Comply with Propane Tank Safety Regulations

February 19, 2021 - Last modified: October 13, 2021 @ 3:36 pm

Red propane forklift with properly attached propane tank

Any business that uses propane forklifts must adhere to propane tank safety regulations. Propane is a volatile substance that can be dangerous if not handled properly. OSHA has created guidelines to help you use propane safely.

Failing to follow OSHA propane forklift regulations not only jeopardizes the safety of your employees but can result in huge fines for your business. Do the right thing by prioritizing propane safety regulations at all times.

Not sure how to do this? We’re here to help. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about propane tank safety regulations.

OSHA Propane Tank Storage Regulations

Propane dispensing equipment must be kept at least 10 feet away from other combustible materials. OSHA propane tank distance guidelines also state that tanks stored indoors should be placed away from exits, entries, staircases, and walkways.

Tanks stored outdoors that hold between 501 and 2,000 gallons should be kept a safe OSHA propane tank distance of 25 feet away from the building. If a tank holds 500 gallons or less, it needs to be at least 10 feet away. Do not place tanks near walkways or high-traffic areas. Do not store tanks indoors if the building is publicly-accessible.

Tanks should also be raised off of the ground. This will prevent water from collecting at the base. OSHA propane tank storage regulations also require placing them on top of a surface that won’t burn. Do not store tanks in an area of excessive heat (at least 120 degrees).

Cages designed to meet OSHA propane tank storage regulations are available for easy storage. Find all OSHA propane tank distance regulations and propane tank safety regulations here.

Filling Forklift Propane Tanks

Propane tanks are incredibly pressurized. Their contents have a temperature of -44 degrees Fahrenheit. To avoid frostbite and freeze burn, OSHA mandates that protective gear be worn when filling forklift propane tanks.

While OSHA propane forklift regulations don’t specify what PPE to wear, impact-resistant goggles, rubber gloves, a long sleeve shirt, and steel-toe boots are all great options. Keep in mind that propane tanks are flammable, so filling forklift propane tanks far from open flames is critical.

Propane tank safety regulations also dictate how the tank is filled. While tanks can be filled by weight or volume, DOT guidelines state that tanks with less than 200 pounds capacity must be refilled by weight.

Of course, not all operations need to worry about filling forklift propane tanks. Many companies do no refill tanks onsite. Regardless, all businesses should follow proper propane safety regulations when replacing tanks.

To change a forklift propane tank, put your forklift in the “neutral” position, set the parking brake, lower the forks, and shut off the gas. Then, turn on the forklift and let it run until it shuts off on its own. Disconnect the fuel hose and remove the empty tank.

Install the new propane tank and lock it into place. Once the tank is in position, connect the LP coupler and secure the tank. Then, turn the tank screw knob counterclockwise to turn the gas on. Listen to, visually assess, and smell the tank for leaks. Leaks will produce a rotten egg smell or emit a white frost.

Orange and gray propane forklift unloading a semi-truck

Propane Safety Regulations

Following proper propane safety regulations is critical to the success of your employees and business. They will protect you from expensive OSHA fines while protecting your workers from dangerous accidents.

Keep in mind that OSHA propane forklift regulations can only do so much. Your operators will still be at risk for injury if your equipment is unsafe. Is it time for an upgrade? Use Forklift Inventory to find the best price on a new or used forklift online.

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