Guide to OSHA Propane Tank Storage Requirements for Forklifts

Propane tank orientation with forklifts

To meet OSHA guidelines for propane-powered forklifts, you need to know how and where to store cylinders. This helpful guide explains propane tank storage requirements and propane filling requirements in simple terms.

OSHA Propane Tank Storage Requirements

OSHA propane tank storage requirements apply to all LP gas containers, even ones that are empty. Follow these guidelines:

  • Propane tank orientation with forklifts: Tanks can be stored vertically or horizontally. Many forklifts have them in a horizontal position. In this case, the relief valve should always be pointed straight up.
  • Outdoor storage: The ideal location for safely storing propane tanks is outdoors in an open-air storage cage that has a protective roof. This type of cage prevents impacts, allows for safe venting and keeps tanks from getting wet. LP gas should always be at least 20 feet away from buildings.
  • Indoor storage: Industrial businesses can store a limited number of propane tanks inside. The tanks must be kept at least 10 feet away from any walkways, stairways, exits or entryways.
  • No stacking: Stacking LP gas in any way, including empty tanks, goes against propane tank storage OSHA requirements.
  • No excessive heat: Keep all propane tanks away from areas prone to high heat. LP gas should never be stored or used near ignition sources, such as in a garage or welding area.

What Is the Maximum Amount of Propane You Are Allowed To Store Inside a Building?

According to OSHA 1910.110, industrial facilities can house a maximum of 300 pounds of LP gas in one location. If the facility has a special room or storage building, it’s possible to store up to 10,000 pounds.

OSHA Propane Filling Requirements

Forklift propane tanks

Some manufacturers and agricultural businesses refill used propane tanks personally. These companies need to follow several OSHA propane filling requirements:

  • Tanks must be secured during transport to prevent falling.
  • Propane tanks shouldn’t be dragged, rolled or dropped on the ground.
  • Valves should be closed and protected while moving.
  • Vehicles can’t be serviced within 10 feet of LP gas.
  • Hoists are recommended to prevent employee injuries from lifting full tanks.

Many businesses have a third-party provider take care of filling empty LP gas tanks. In that case, the main thing employees should do is check tanks carefully for damage before installing them on forklifts. Only allow trained personnel to handle propane tanks.

Operator Safety Tips for Propane Forklifts

Any employees that come into contact with LP gas, including forklift operators, should know how to follow best safety practices for propane cylinders:

  • Wear personal protective equipment to cover skin when connecting or disconnecting cylinders
  • Follow the steps in the forklift manufacturer’s documentation to the letter when changing propane tanks
  • Close propane valves whenever forklifts aren’t being used
  • Put safety collars or caps on all stored cylinders, whether empty, partially used or full
  • Don’t allow employees to smoke anywhere near propane-powered forklifts or stored LP gas

Benefits of Forklifts With Propane Tanks

With proper training, OSHA propane storage regulations become second nature. Meanwhile, a propane-powered forklift provides many advantages: better energy efficiency, fewer maintenance requirements and lower operating costs. Propane is significantly cheaper than other types of fuel for forklifts.

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