In the Know: Determining the best safety practices

July 5, 2018 By    

In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas magazine and Propane Resources. Our focus this month is on employees, addressed by Cooper Wilburn, consultant for Propane Resources.

Q: What is the single best safety practice a propane retailer can employ?

A: Across the nation, propane retailers are following standard safety practices implemented by the industry. However, there are instances where the safety practices are not documented. Even if a propane retailer performs gas checks, leak checks, tank installs, bobtail inspections, etc., if they aren’t documented, it’s as if they never happened.

For example, a retail propane customer’s house exploded. The retailer was pulled into the lawsuit because it was propane related. As the fire marshal reviewed the case, it was clear a propane leak caused the explosion.

This retailer had performed a gas check at the customer’s house a couple of years back; this was recorded in the customer file. After reviewing the gas check on file, it was revealed that the old propane water heater had been replaced with an electric unit.

As far as the retailer knew, the propane appliance was still in the home because the retailer hadn’t performed the installation or taken the old water heater out of service, nor had the homeowner notified the retailer about the change. The homeowners had performed the installation, and instead of having the gas line properly capped, they had capped it with duct tape.

The retailer was let off the hook because it had the documentation showing a new water heater installation (which the homeowner failed to mention). While it can be a pain to fill out those gas check forms, the extra couple of minutes it takes could save you big in the long run.

Cooper Wilburn is a consultant at Propane Resources. He can be reached at 913-262-0196 or

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