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Fire and Explosion in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Facility Page 1 of 2

Fire and Explosion in the Liquefied Petroleum


Gas (LPG) Facility

Listen/Dengar

On July 24 2010, at approximately 1:30 pm, there was a fire and explosion at the LPG
facility in Selangor. Although there is no loss of life, the incident had caused severe damages
to the property at the site where LPG cylinders were stored. Approximately 150 of 12kg LPG
cylinders and 50 of 50kg LPG cylinders and the workers' living quarter were destroyed as a
result of the incident. Photo 1 shows the effect of LPG gas cylinder explosion at the site.

Photo 1 : The LPG gas cylinders damaged by the explosion

LPG is a flammable substance which is classified as hazardous substance as it can undergo a


boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) when LPG stored inside a cylinder is
subjected to fire of sufficient duration and intensity. Thus, any leakage of the LPG in the
storage site shall be avoided and mitigated. The investigation conducted at the site revealed
that the occupier has possibly carried out decanting process in the facility.

Through detailed observation made, the 12kg LPG cylinders had been arranged upside down
on the upper row and sit atop on another row of upright 12kg LPG cylinders at the bottom
row. The 12kg LPG cylinder were then connected to the row of 50kg LPG cylinders through
the flexible connecting tubes or copper tubes. Such arrangement will allow the content to
discharge by gravity from the 12kg cylinders to the 50kg LPG cylinders. The process will
continue until the 50kg LPG cylinders have been completely filled up. Such process involves
high risk of leakage of the flammable gas which can lead to fire and explosion in the
presence of spark or flame in the facility. Because of these risks, such process has been
banned in this country, and also in several other countries in the world.

Precautionary steps to be considered for facility involving handling and storage of


flammable and explosive substances:-
1. Hazard identification, risk assessment and control (HIRARC) has to be carried out for
such facility involving the handling and storage of liquefied petroleum gas to ensure
that the work can be carried out safely;

2. All cylinders shall be kept in a safe, well-ventilated place (open air), and away from
occupied buildings, public road, boundaries and sources of ignition and of heat;

3. All cylinders shall be kept and stored upright and safely secured;

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Fire and Explosion in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Facility Page 2 of 2

Ensure no electrical equipment or vehicles which can give rise to sources of ignition in
4.
the facility;

5. Storage area should be well maintained through good housekeeping and provided with
adequate warning signs and firefighting equipment; and

6. To comply with the Petroleum (Safety Measures) Act 1984 (Act 302) and the
regulations made there under.

Reference :
1. http://www.ngvcommunity.com

2. http://www.hse.gov.uk/cdg/pdf/safusgc.pdf

3. http://www.bcga.co.uk

4. Code of Practice - The Use and Storage of Compressed Gas Cylinders

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquefied_petroleum_gas

6. http://www.neath-porttalbot.gov.uk/Default.aspx?page=952

7. http://www.open.gov.uk/hse/hsehome.htm

http://www.dosh.gov.my/doshV2/index.php?view=article&catid=84%3Asafety-alerts&id=273... 11/1/2010