Make a habit of propane forklift safety

August 17, 2023 By    

Forklifts offer excellent, year-round load for propane marketers. Customers benefit from our safe, environmentally friendly fuel inside and outside their facilities. Whether delivery occurs through cylinder exchange, on-site filling or the office dispenser, marketers must ensure training of anyone handling a propane forklift cylinder and the integrity of each cylinder. These important responsibilities cannot be overlooked.

Forklift safety begins with trained employees who understand their job functions. (Photo: kali9/E+/Getty Images) _ propane forklift

Safe use of propane forklifts starts with training qualified personnel. (Photo: kali9/E+/Getty Images)

Training. Only qualified personnel can handle, refill or repair propane cylinders. Instruction must include PPE, cylinder inspection, odorant recognition, leak detection, refilling, storage, ignition control, fire extinguisher location and use, installation onto and removal from the forklift, and emergency response.

Cylinder inspection. Marketers must monitor cylinder condition, including that of customer-owned cylinders to ensure fitness for service. Each cylinder must be inspected before filling and again before installation. Flammable, propane, no smoking and hazmat markings must be in place. Defective cylinders must be removed from service.

Dispenser safety. Motor-driven and gravity-fill units must meet code for operator training, filling apparatus, breakaway fittings, propane and electrical remote closure, and markings such as flammable, propane, no smoking and hazmat. Regular dispenser inspection and operator refresher training are essential to safety.

Marketer forklifts. Marketers using their own forklifts must ensure that operators are properly trained including on use of seat belts and PPE. A pre-trip inspection like that of a vehicle must be performed and documented.

The Propane Education & Research Council offers training material for forklift and dispenser operators at NFPA 58 and are additional resources.

Remember to document all training, and always make forklift safety a habit.

Benny Gay is vice president of operational support at ThompsonGas. He can be reached at

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