Five killed in a LPG Cylinder Blast – The Hindu; Three killed in a LPG Cylinder Blast in Bangalore – The Times Of India; LPG Cylinder Blast in Bangalore Temple Creates Panic – Indian Express.
Read any newspaper, and one can spot at least one incident of a cylinder blast being reported every week. What was supposed to be a one-off incident is now becoming a regular affair in the households of India. But hardly does one ponder over the reason and cause of such incidents. Why do such accidents happen? Can such incidences be avoided? If yes, how? Read to understand:
What do reports say?
As per reports, there is no one specific reason that causes a cylinder blast. Many of the cases are attributed to reckless and careless usage of gas cylinders and hot plates. The other major reason of such an incident is distribution of an expired LPG cylinder by the distributor, and ignorance of the consumer in accepting it .
Cylinders have expiry dates too!
Yes! The gas cylinder that you have in your home has an expiry date stamped on its head. According to sources, expired LPG cylinders are cylinders who have passed their validity dates, and are due for statutory testing before they can be considered fit for domestic or commercial usage. Hence they are virtually unsafe to be used, as such cylinders are prone to gas leakage from valves which leads to explosion. Sometimes such cylinders get blasted in the delivery vehicle itself .
According to an expert from a petroleum company, “the expiry date of a cylinder denotes the year and month when the cylinder is due for statutory testing. If a defect is found, it is repaired and after getting a certification from BIS [Bureau of Indian Standards], the cylinder is again put into circulation. However if the already repaired cylinder is again found to be damaged during subsequent statuary test, the cylinder is scrapped.”
How do I find out my gas cylinder’s expiry date?
There is a very simple method to determine the expiry date of a gas cylinder.
Each cylinder comes with three vertical stay plates (side stems) near its head. Besides carrying the weight information, one of the side stem carries some alpha-numeric code which is the expiry date of that particular gas cylinder. Here’s how to decode the expiry date.Letter A stands for January to March; B covers April to June; C stands for July to September and D connotes the time period of October – December. So if the characters on the vertical stay plates carry the date ‘A – 07’, it means the expiry date of the cylinder was March 2007 . Similarly, ‘A-14’ will indicate that the expiry date of the particular cylinder is March 2014. A cylinder that is used beyond the expiry date invites hazard, and should be promptly returned to the distributor.
It is important to note here that the date stands for expiry date of the cylinder and not of the liquefied petroleum gas that resides inside. But it is in the interest of consumers to always check for the expiry date of a cylinder while receiving a refill from the distributor.
What else do I need to check when I receive my refill?
Besides checking the expiry date, you should also check the points mentioned below as they are in your safety and interest:
- Always check the seal of the cylinder
- Check the safety cap. It should not have any cracks
- Remove the safety cap and check for leakage from the valve
- Get the new cylinder connected with your hotplate and make sure no leakage is observed
As per a TOI article, awareness about the validity of the cylinders within consumers is still low. Taking advantage of this ignorance, gas agencies and distributors pass an expired cylinder to consumers. The report states that, “Since a good percentage of people do not know about the fact that even cylinders have expiry dates, it goes unnoticed.”
The article clearly states that the onus of checking expiry date of a gas cylinder rests on consumers. As consumers, you have the right to reject a cylinder whose expiry date is near. So exercise the power that you have, and ensure safety of yourself and your loved ones.