The hospitality industry needs to beef up its attitude in terms of public safety following an incident where seven people were injured by an LPG explosion inside a Pretoria fast-food outlet – even if it means paying a bit more for peace of mind, said Afrox managing director, Tjaart Kruger.
“The FIFA World Cup is almost upon us and we can expect hundreds of thousands of tourists to descend on South Africa looking to have an enjoyable experience – not to get injured because of a lack of proper maintenance, bad installations or through the use of illegally filled cylinders,” warned Kruger. “As the leading supplier of LPG to the hospitality sector we are increasingly becoming aware of an emergence of dangerous practices by unscrupulous operators.
“The main issues putting lives at risk are incompetent gas installers that are often not registered, a lack of maintenance of existing gas installations and the use of illegally filled cylinders. At Afrox people’s safety comes before profit. It is part of our values to encourage our customers to the same philosophy.”
In the latest incident, the exact cause of which is under investigation by the Tshwane Fire Brigade and the SAPS, two people received serious burns and lacerations while five others suffered minor injuries. The explosion extensively damaged the outlet, raining debris down on staff, customers, passers-by and damaging several neighbouring businesses.
In Gauteng, Afrox has launched an inspection and audit campaign of all its hospitality customers to ensure LPG installations are safe and meet local fire department and municipal safety standards.
“It never ceases to amaze me that many hospitality venues don’t display a fire safety certificate or a flammable liquid license,” said Kruger. “If caterers displayed their certificates this would go a long way in giving their patrons peace of mind about their safety.”
The mainstream LPG industry spends millions on safety every year but is constantly undermined by rogue traders and illegal filling of cylinders. He added: “Our efforts are relentless in trying to halt these illegal and unethical practices. Not only do they damage the viability of reputable companies like Afrox, more importantly they put lives and property at risk. The same is happening with unqualified people being used to fit, inspect and repair LPG installations. Always demand proof that an installer is approved and registered or in the case of Handigas cylinders, make sure that the LPG supplier is a legitimate distributor. It’s the only way to ensure the safety of your customers and your business.”
Handigas cylinders filled by Afrox have a heat-shrunk red seal over the valves to assure consumers that all quality and safety measures have been taken. A similar seal is used by those distributors authorised to fill Handigas cylinders. No seal, or clear seals, on Handigas cylinders mean they have been filled illegally and could endanger people’s lives. For more information visit www.lpgas.co.za.
Top LPG Safety Tips
- Check for leaks on your installation or appliances regularly
- Replace worn parts with approved equipment, using a registered LPG installer
- Obtain your flammable liquid license from the local authority
- Ensure you have adequate fire protection devices like fire extinguishers and hose reels available and that they are serviced regularly
- Keep the area around your LPG installation clear and free of any combustible material
- Make sure that all valves are properly closed at the end of business. Address any leaks immediately; and
- Do not allow any naked flames in the vicinity of LPG installations or equipment.