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Calor issues safety warning over LPG cylinder 'tampering'
Published:  16 February, 2012

A safety alert has been issued by Calor Gas warning people of the dangers of attempting to construct wood burners from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.

Calor has become aware of a number of websites giving instructions about how to transform or deconstruct LPG cylinders, for example into domestic wood burners. Many of these videos or resulting products are also available online.

According to Calor, a specialist publication recently ran an article showing readers how to make traditional-looking wood-burning stoves out of old gas cylinders. Calor said it has written to the magazine, saying: “We hope your insurance is good.”

LPG cylinders are safe when used correctly, following the accompanying safety instructions. But LPG is a highly flammable material. If a welding torch or power cutter is used on an LPG cylinder, even if it appears to be empty, it can explode violently. As well as the safety implications of a potential gas explosion, tampering with LPG cylinders or attempting to change their use is also an unlawful offence which could result in prosecution.

Earlier this month, the boss of a St Helens gas supply firm was fined £22,500 for causing an explosion by attempting to remove a valve from an LPG cylinder. This incident resulted in multiple burns both to himself and to one of his employees. The HSE inspector said that “in this case, the fact that no one was killed was simply down to luck".

These irresponsible websites and publications encourage users to put their lives at risk, through step-by-step guides, and even videos, demonstrating how to de-construct or convert a cylinder. They have been repeatedly asked by Calor to remove their directions but have not complied.

All Calor’s cylinders are the property of Calor Gas, and are supplied under a refill agreement which contains important safety information. Calor’s ownership of the cylinders is further emphasised in that they are embossed with the word ‘CALOR’ on the metal casing, and are stencilled with ‘Extremely Flammable, Property of and only to be filled by Calor Gas Ltd, Warwick.’

[Further advice on this issue is available on the Calor website at http://www.calor.co.uk/customer-services/lpg-safety/.

Dr Terry Ritter, who is safety, health and environment Manager at Calor, said: "Calor cylinders are used widely, whether at home, for leisure or at work and their safety record is exemplary. However, we are seeing an alarming rise in untrained people attempting to cut open cylinders. Advice on how to create wood burning-stoves is widespread on the internet. This is not only extremely dangerous, but unlawful. We urge anybody considering tampering with one of our cylinders not to do so, because in committing such action, they are putting their own lives at risk."