Non compliance of electrical work near gas installations

During a recent audit of a gasfitter's work (by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board) an electrical non-compliance was found, relating to the gas installation.

The gas installation included two 45 kg LPG cylinders and it was found that the external unit of a heat pump was too close to the cylinders. The heat pump had been installed after the gas installation had been completed, so it was the electrical work that was the problem, not the gas installation itself.

Electrical workers are reminded that there is a hazardous area classification around 45 kg LPG cylinders and there should be no electrical equipment installed in this area, unless it has the appropriate hazardous area protection.

The hazardous area classification from AS/NZS 60079.10.1 is shown on the Ministry of Economic Development energy Safety Newsletter website. This classification is repeated in both the gas installation code (NZS 5261) and the LPG storage and handling code (AS/NZS 1596).

Another area where electrical workers may encounter LPG in the home is where there is a 9 kg cylinder installed under the kitchen bench to supply a gas hob. The gas installation code requires such cupboards to be vented to the outside of the house and to contain no electrical equipment.

Summarised from the Ministry of Economic Development Energy Safety Newsletter, April 2010.

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