Rockgas extends its sympathies to those injured and affected by the incident in Christchurch on 19 July. The incident is under investigation, and while Rockgas was not involved, below is some important safety information for anyone using LPG.
If you can smell LPG (smells like rotten eggs) inside, or suspect there is a gas leak:
- Keep flames and cigarettes out of the room and away from the area
- Turn off all gas appliances – if safe to do so
- Turn off the gas supply at the meter or LPG cylinder – if safe to do so
- Open doors and windows
- Leave electrical appliances or switches as they are – a flick on or off could cause a spark and ignite the gas
- Don’t use your phone in the area
- Contact a registered gas fitter to check the installation. Use a phone away from the gas leak
- In an emergency, call 111
- If the smell persists, go outside to a safe place away from the building.
You can use soapy water on the gas pipes or connections to find leaks. This will make growing bubbles if any gas is leaking. A spray bottle is really good for this.
For more information about keeping yourself safe with gas visit gassafety.org.nz/gas-emergencies.html
Read on for more tips on keeping safe with gas.
LPG is a great form of energy. Make the most of it by using it safely. Learn more about LPG health and safety from our LPG Safety Data Sheet.
In case of emergency dial 111.
LPG appliance safety
- Good ventilation is very important. If you are using an unflued portable gas heater, always keep a window or door slightly open
- Never use a LPG cabinet heater in bedrooms or bathrooms. Ventilation cannot be guaranteed, no matter how big the room is
- LPG can cause some natural rubber and plastics to break down, so always use hoses especially designed for LPG. In New Zealand, hoses are marked with the letters ‘LPG’ as well as other specifications – so always check
- Keep the hose from your heater or BBQ gently curved to avoid kinks and damage
- Sometimes gas fails to ignite properly. If that happens, turn off the supply and wait a couple of minutes, to let unburnt gas disperse before you try again
- Never connect LPG to appliances that have been set up for natural gas – it could damage them
It is important to have your appliances serviced regularly to ensure they are running safely and efficiently. Get a registered gasfitter to check all your gas appliances at least once every two years.
Gas water heaters
It is important that you keep your gas water heater clean by removing dust, lint or sawdust that could block the air intakes at the bottom of the tank.
If you insulate your water heater:
- Keep the insulation blanket well off the floor so it does not cut off the air supply to the pilot light
- Use non-flammable insulation or commercial pipe wraps to insulate the hot water pipe that extends from the top of the hot water cylinder
LPG cylinder safety
We will always run a safety check on your 45kg cylinders when we come and swap empty cylinders for full ones, but here are some important safety tips you should follow for large and small LPG cylinders.
- Always keep LPG cylinders upright – if you lie them down the safety valve will be compromised
- Always secure 9kg cylinders when you are moving them in your vehicle – never let them roll around
- Don’t expose cylinders to excessive heat and never leave them in a vehicle in the sun
- Keep the hose from your heater or BBQ gently curved to avoid kinks and damage
- Make sure your 9kg cylinder has a current test date stamped on the neck. Gas cylinders need to be certified every 10 years. Your local refilling station will show you where the test date is written
- Use soapy water to check if your cylinder is leaking. If you see bubbles then there is probably a leak. Turn off the valve, move the cylinder to a ventilated area, then contact your gas supplier. NEVER USE A MATCH to find a leak
- Activities that might cause a spark, such as welding or grinding, need to be done well away from LPG cylinders
- Position your BBQ at least a metre away from any objects
- Check the connection between the gas bottle and fuel line is secured to avoid leakage
- Never use a match or open flame to check for leaks
- Ensure all hoses and valves are fully secured and not split or leaking and check them regularly
Essential first aid – LPG
|Eyes||Do not delay – flood eyes gently with clean tepid water (not hot) for at least 15 minutes, or flush eyes for as long as possible with sterile saline solution
Identifying a leak
Use your nose – If you can smell LPG (smells like rotten eggs), check if:
• The pilot light has gone out on an appliance
• The burner on your stove has been left on accidently; and
• Open the windows and call your gasfitter
Use your ears – If you hear a hissing noise it could be gas. Turn off appliances and check it out.
Use your eyes – Can you see ice or frosting on the pipes, fittings or joints? Is there a hazy cloud around your pipes or bottles? Is your gas bill higher than usual?
Any of these things could indicate a gas leak. Click here for what to do when you suspect a leak.
How to check your 9kg bottle for leaks:
- Make a weak solution of soapy water (one part dishwashing liquid to four parts water)
- Connect your 9kg bottle to the BBQ
- Turn all the burner knobs to OFF
- Turn your gas bottle ON
- Brush or spray the soapy solution on all the connections (where the pipe connects to the BBQ and the bottle)
- If bubbles appear it means the connection isn’t properly sealed
- Turn OFF the gas and tighten or fix the connections
- Repeat until no bubbles appear
LPG is heavier than air, so it needs to be kept a safe distance away from openings and drains to prevent spillage from spreading.
Always keep bottles in an upright position away from heat sources.
Keep bottles closed when not in use.
|For all emergencies||No smoking or naked flames within 50m.
Move people from immediate area. Keep upwind. To contact the Fire Service, dial 111.
|Leak||Carry out action for all emergencies as above. Stop flow of gas/liquid if possible. Spray water to disperse gas cloud but avoid spraying water directly on the leaking container as this may increase leakage. Prevent spillage from spreading or entering underground drains by blocking with sand or earth.|
|Fire||Carry out action for all emergencies as above. Only if it is safe to do so, shut off supply of gas rather than put out fire. If water is available, spray containers to keep them cool.|
|Disposal||Contact us on 0800 762 542.|
In an emergency
If you have an LPG leak, follow these instructions until the emergency services or a technician arrive:
- Turn off your LPG appliances immediately
- Don’t light a match, lighter or cigarette
- Don’t use any electrical appliances, mobile phones or even turn on a light as these can be ignition sources
- Turn off the gas at the bottles or meter
- Open all windows and doors at the property
We need to keep all our customers safe so, if there is an emergency, we reserve the right to stop LPG without notice. We will only do this if customers are at risk when:
- An installation, appliance or fitting is found to be unsafe during an inspection.
- There is a breach of gas industry regulations. The legislation is there to protect you from danger and breaking the law can put you and others at risk.
If we spot risks, the LPG supply will be turned off or bottles removed immediately until the problem is fixed or the issue resolved, and we will keep you informed.
In case of an emergency, dial 111.
Before you dig
Our piped LPG network is laid below the surface in parts of the South Island so, for your safety, it is very important to check where your gas pipes are before you lift a shovel to:
- Build a fence
- Construct a building
- Plant a tree
- Install signage
- Do any digging at all around your property
You can get a free copy of the piped LPG plan to the LPG meter for your property by emailing email@example.com.
Auto LPG safety
Like all fuels used for vehicles, there are important safety guides to remember with LPG.
Built-in safety features
There are a number of built-in safety features in LPG fuel tanks:
• They are manufactured to withstand the impact of an accident
• The fuel supply is automatically shut off to the engine if the engine stops or the ignition is switched off
• The manual service valve at the tank allows the system to be easily and securely turned off
• If a fire occurs, the fuel tank will safely vent its contents from the safety valve to avoid any over pressure situations
What to do if you drive off with the filler nozzle attached to your vehicle
The filler hose is designed to detach safely from the dispenser, through a breakaway coupling in the hose detaching and sealing.
The coupling is located at either the top, or at the base of the dispenser.
If you do drive off:
- Check for leaks
- Remove the hose nozzle from your vehicle
- Place the nozzle in the holder on the dispenser
- Check for damage to your vehicle
- DO NOT attempt to reconnect the filler nozzle breakaway coupling
- Move to a safe place off-site and call our emergency helpline 0800 574 737
- Follow the recorded instructions to alert our contractors
- If there is an immediate danger call 111 and ask for the Fire Service
What to do in an accident or fire
- If it is safe to do so, turn off the manual service valve on the fuel tank in the boot, or under the rear of the vehicle if the tank is an under floor installation
- Ensure there are no ignition sources near the vehicle
- Look after your own safety. Call for emergency help immediately
What to do if a vehicle gas leak occurs
- Turn off the vehicle’s ignition
- Turn off the manual service valve located on the fuel tank in the boot, or underneath the vehicle
- Ensure there are no ignition sources near the vehicle
- If the vehicle is indoors or in a poorly ventilated area, call the fire service immediately
- If the leak is small and the vehicle is outdoors in a well ventilated area, call an LPG installer or motor mechanic immediately to attend to the leak
- If in doubt call the fire service on 111
What to do if a site gas leak occurs
If you detect a strong smell of LPG:
- Tell the service station staff straight away
- If you are at an un-manned site remove yourself immediately but DO NOT move your vehicle. Call the emergency site helpline 0800 574 737 to report
Location Compliance Certificate
If you store 100kg or more of LPG on a workplace site, it is a legal requirement to have a Location Compliance Certificate or LCC (Prior to 1 December 2017 this was referred to as Location Test Certificate). For a non-workplace site, this also applies to storage of over 300kg.
If you fall under these requirements, we require a valid Location Compliance Certificate to supply LPG to you.
LCCs are issued by approved compliance certifiers who will assess your site and inform you of any changes needed to meet regulations. You can find a certifier here. Type in your location and certification type in the fields provided to find a certifier in your region.
You will also need a copy of our Safety Data Sheet which includes information about the composition of LPG. You need to have one of these to obtain your LCC.
For places other than a workplace, for LPG storage capacity of 100kg or more but less than 300kg a test certificate is not required. But these sites will need to be assessed by Rockgas to ensure they comply with the minimum criteria set down in the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017. Rockgas will then issue a compliance plaque for the site for a 3-year period. Please contact us to arrange an assessment.
Woolston community information
LPG is a nontoxic, non-poisonous gas, but it is highly flammable. This is why Rockgas’ Woolston LPG Terminal, where we store large quantities of LPG, is classified as an upper tier Major Hazard Facility under the Health and Safety at Work (Major Hazard Facility) Regulations 2016.
This means we must prove to WorkSafe that we have the right safety, operating and maintenance systems in place to ensure we keep any risk as low as reasonably practicable.
To do this, we develop safety cases which comprehensively document our ability to manage and control any major incident effectively, and include a summary of our safety assessments, safety management system and emergency plans. These are submitted to Worksafe for approval, and refreshed and reviewed at least every five years.
The main risk is from an uncontrolled release of LPG, which could catch fire if it comes in contact with an ignition source. However, the probability of this risk occurring is extremely low as our tanks are designed to be impact and fire resistant. Other sources of uncontrolled releases could come from our above ground 30 tonne tank, tankers and cylinders, but since these systems contain less LPG than our large storage tanks the risk is commensurately lower. In addition, all of the electrical circuits on our sites have been specifically chosen to ensure they don’t create an ignition source, and all of our safety systems (including fire and shutdown sirens) are tested on a regular basis.
Safety Management System
Our Safety Management System is the primary means by which we ensure our safe operation and it provides the link between systems and controls. It contains things such as policy and procedures, organisation and personnel, performance monitoring, audits and reviews.
Following an uncontrolled release such as those identified in the safety assessments, a fire siren will sound and the site will automatically shut down. The NZ Fire Service will automatically be called out to help manage the release, and to ensure they are in place should a fire occur. The release may take the form of a visible cloud travelling at wind speed, although this may vary depending on the strength of the wind. Water sprays may activate to disperse the cloud. The risk of such a cloud reaching our neighbours is very low, but anyone able to self-evacuate from a cloud should do so.
Immediate neighbours will be notified directly by Rockgas staff via telephone. Nearby neighbours may be contacted by either the Fire Service or the Police. They should shelter in place if they can, unless told differently.
For further information contact our Branch Manager on 03 384 8703.
Emergency help line 0800 574 737