Occupational Health Hazards Of Propane

What is Propane?

Propane is a gas normally compressed and stored as a liquid. It is nontoxic, colorless, and virtually odorless; an identifying odor is added so it can be detected. It is also known as liquified petroleum gas or LPG. Propane is commonly used for heating, cooking, and fuel. Its applications are rapidly growing due to new technology developments. Propane is considered a clean fuel, however, there are still health hazards

Why Is Propane Harmful?

Even though propane is not a toxic industrial material, it is an asphyxiant. This means that very high concentrations of the gas can cause suffocation. It is an extremely flammable gas. It is stored under pressure as a gas and can explode if heated. It can be a confined space hazard as it is an asphyxiant gas and accumulates in low lying areas. 

How Does Propane Harm Your Body?

In high concentrations, propane is bad because it has the capacity to harm your body. Propane displaces oxygen and is an asphyxiant gas. It causes suffocation if allowed to accumulate to concentrations that reduce oxygen below safe breathing levels. Exposure to high concentrations can also cause cardiac arrest, unconsciousness, or seizures.

Symptoms of Propane Inhalation

Breathing of high concentrations may cause dizziness, light-headedness, headache, nausea, and loss of coordination. Continued inhalation may result in unconsciousness. Asphyxiation may bring about unconsciousness without warning and so rapidly that the victim may be unable to protect themself. 

Exposure to rapidly expanding gas or vaporizing liquid may cause frostbite ("cold burn"). 

Who Needs To Be Concerned About Propane Hazards in the Workplace?

Propane is used to fuel business. It is considered a safe, low cost, and environmentally-friendly fuel for heat, and power. Propane is well suited for power generation, forklifts, vehicles, cooking, and heating. Therefore, workers who engage in activities that rely on propane for fuel should take safety precautions.

How to Prevent Occupational Propane Exposure? 

If your workplace frequently comes into contact with propane, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Our SDS Management Software gives your workers the information they need to protect their health and safety. 

Contact Chemscape today to learn how we can help you improve the occupational health standards of your company. 


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