New year brings new edition of NFPA 58

January 18, 2024 By    

Every so often I get a new enforcement tool for my job. The most recent one is the 2024 edition of NFPA 58, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code.

A new edition usually comes out every three years, but this time it was four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From what I hear, it will be another four years (2028) to get back into the rhythm the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) wants. I am not speaking for NFPA in this article.

The LP gas code is effectively my bible for doing most of my work. I also use our general statutes and regulations, through which I have authority to use the LP gas code for safety inspection enforcement. We have additions or exceptions to the code, as do many states, but not many. The National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 44 (NIST Handbook 44) is our guide to performing calibrations of meters and scales used for custody transfer (selling) of LP gases. Many states use the International Fuel Gas Code or International Fire Code for installing and reviewing various fuel systems. Check the application of each code in your state.

Now that all of this groundwork has been established, we can look at the new LP gas code and see how it may affect our work going forward. Full disclosure: I am a member of the technical committee that processes all of the proposals for making changes to this code. I have proposed my fair share of changes, with varying success.

Writing the code

I will start with a statement I heard from a former fire code inspector teaching at our state’s fire prevention school. He effectively said, “It is the responsibility of each builder or installer to comply with every requirement when it must be built or installed according to a code or standard. However, it will probably not be inspected to that level of scrutiny. There are some things that the inspector can’t examine without disassembling or damaging the installation.”

The item that comes to my mind first is we can’t verify that schedule 80 pipe is installed without taking the piping system apart. The outward appearances of schedules 40, 80 and 160 pipe are identical. We can get a clue from the thickness of the fittings used, but it’s no guarantee about the pipe wall thickness. There’s probably a doodad for checking that, but we don’t have it.

No matter how hard we try, the technical committee doesn’t always get the wording for a requirement spot on.

For instance, section reads, “At least one remote emergency shutdown device in accordance with Section 4.10 shall be installed for each emergency shutoff valve.”

At first reading, it appears that a site with many emergency shutoff valves (ESVs) must have at least as many remote emergency shutdown devices. That was not the intent, which was to require that every ESV must be controllable by at least one remote shutdown device. Actually, one device may control many ESVs, thus allowing as few as one device for a whole site. Unfortunately, the requirement is ambiguous, so it will be revised.

Mobile food facilities

The biggest addition in this edition is a whole chapter 16 devoted to mobile food facilities (food trucks, trailers, hot dog carts, etc.). This expands the inadequate section in chapter 6 on LP gas systems on vehicles (other than engine fuel systems) for this growing market.

It provides much-needed information on containers, piping, appliances, training, testing and more.

Much of this new chapter from NFPA 58 has been used in NFPA 96, the Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, which NFPA designates as the lead standard for mobile food facilities.

NFPA 96’s chapter 17, Mobile and Temporary Cooking Operations, covers more of the installation and operation requirements for mobile food facilities, including propane systems, electrical wiring and gas detectors.

Richard Fredenburg is an LP gas engineer at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Standards Division. He is also a member of NFPA’s Technical Committee on LP Gases. Contact him at or 984-236-4752.

NOTE: The opinions and viewpoints expressed herein are solely the author’s and should in no way be interpreted as those of LP Gas magazine or any of its staff members.

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