In August 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) was taking actions to raise awareness of the hazards associated with compressed gas cylinders following a large propane cylinder rupture on a food truck in Philadelphia, PA, that resulted in deaths and injuries. Their campaign focused, in part, on the basics of how to inspect a cylinder for serviceability, and how to identify an out-of-test cylinder.

Additionally, on January 21, 2016, requalification changes for cylinders were adopted by PHMSA. PHMSA published a final rule in the Federal Register, titled “Hazardous Materials Adoption of Special Permits (MAP-21)(RRR)” under Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0042(HM-233F). This final rule incorporated longstanding DOT special permits into the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Cylinders must now be requalified by proof pressure or volumetric expansion testing every 10 years instead of every 7 or 12 years.

Fire marshals and code enforcers play an important role in helping to achieve public safety, and we have shared responsibility in this area. Both propane (Class 2.1 Flammable Gas), and the cylinder to which it is stored, are regulated by the HMR. Cylinders containing flammable gases are required to fully conform to the packaging, qualification, maintenance, and use requirements of the HMR. In addition, State and local fire codes may also place requirements on low-pressure cylinders of flammable gas.

To aid in increasing awareness, PHMSA created a short Food Truck Cylinder Safety video—available on YouTube—that details the required markings on a cylinder as well as illustrates how markings indicate when the cylinder must be requalified:

And free, updated cylinder safety posters noting the new requalification date requirements are now available from the PHMSA website:

Thank you for your continued support regarding this important safety issue, so we can raise public awareness regarding these important safety issues. Philip J. Oakes
National Program Director
National Association of State Fire Marshals
PO Box 671
Cheyenne, WY 82003