Be safe with turbo heaters trader fined

Issue 31 – September 2011

Energy Safety is reminding users and hirers of their responsibilities under the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010, for ensuring the safe use of LPG turbo heaters. Turbo heaters are very high heat space heaters which burn LPG and other fuels. They are primarily intended for temporary use in large commercial or industrial sites but may also be used to heat large public spaces.

Energy Safety drafted guidelines for the use of turbo heaters following a number of serious accidents involving the use of turbo heaters and is consulting with the Environmental Protection Authority (formerly ERMA) about measures to further improve safety.

Rental firms have responsibilities to provide supply full safety instructions, which are extensive, and users have responsibilities for following them.

The most important points to consider when using mobile industrial heaters are:

  • fire hazard – temperatures as high as 600ºC have been measured near the outlet of these heaters. It is essential that these heaters have adequate fireguards and barriers to prevent people or inflammable material from getting too close. Gas connection joints must be tested for leaks with soapy water. Leakage at the connection point has resulted in flash fire and death.
  • poisoning hazard – the high gas consumption of these appliances means they require a large amount of air to support combustion and dilute combustion products in the heated space. It is essential that the manufacturer's ventilation instructions are followed.
  • turbo heaters consume large amounts of LPG and are typically connected to two 45kg LPG cylinders. This quantity of LPG means that the use of the appliances falls under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996 and associated Regulations.

This legislation is administered by the Department of Labour and local authorities and their advice should be sought before using turbo heaters.

Summarised from the Ministry of Economic Development's Business Update August 2011.

Published in energy.