The Truth About Forklift LPG Inspections

Laws change all the time, and as a business it is crucial that you keep abreast of those changes.  It happens with forklifts all the time, the rules change, which is just what happened with the LPG systems on forklifts and forklift LPG inspections that are required under law by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

Under the new laws and regulations from September 2016, the LPG system on forklifts now need to be inspected every six months if they are a commercial vehicle and if its a hire forklift the hire company needs to be checked before every hire.

Now under Australian Standards AS4983-2003,  A LPG installation shall be re-exammined annually to ensure that is has not deteriorated to unacceptable degrees.

The following annual checks should be carried out :-

(a) Leakage check

(b) Fuel container/cylinder life

Check the container/cylinder date stamp. If it will exceed the retest date before the next annual inspection, initiate the procedures for re-inspection and re-certification in  accordance with AS 2337.2 for LP Gas, and AS 2337.1 and AS 2337.3 for CNG.

(c) LP Gas container damage

Inspect the LP Gas container and any fitted protection for any evidence of damage by impact or by fire. Refer the container to a test station if any of the following faults are present:

(i) A dent which does not penetrate the surface material, but whose depth exceeds 10 percent of the mean diameter of the dent, or which is located on a weld and exceeds 6.5 mm in depth.

(ii) A sharp impression or crease which does not penetrate the surface of the material, but whose length exceeds 75 mm or whose depth exceeds 25 percent of the wall thickness.

(iii) A cut or gouge which penetrates the surface material, of dimensions as in Item (ii) above.

(iv) Bulging, to the extent that the circumference varies by more than 1 percent.

(v) Fire damage.

(d) LP Gas container corrosion

Inspect the container for evidence of deterioration by corrosion. Pay particular attention to the drip line under the container, to areas where water could accumulate, and to the area covered by clamping bands, especially those that pass under a container or intersect the drip line. Release bands where necessary to ensure adequate examination.

NOTE: Care should be taken when releasing bands to prevent damage to any component or piping.

Refer the container to a test station if any of the following faults are present:

(i) A pit which reduces the wall thickness by 50 percent or more of the original or which leaves less than 1.1 mm of metal remaining. Adjacent pits less than 85 mm apart shall be treated as general corrosion.

(ii) Any corrosion which exceeds 75 mm in length or which leaves less than 75 percent of the original wall thickness.

(e) CNG cylinder damage and corrosion

Inspect the cylinder and its mountings, pipework, compartments or subcompartments, guards and heat shields to ensure that they have not suffered impact damage, corrosion or heating by fire or loss of integrity due to fatigue.

(f) Container/cylinder attachment

Check for the following:

(i) Rust, corrosion, abrasion, or impact damage.

(ii) Tightness of and damage to fasteners, loose bands and wear under bands.

(iii) Correct orientation of fuel container, (for LP Gas installations).

(iv) Adjustment of quick release container bands, (for LP Gas installations).

(v) Cracks and metal fatigue.

(g) Automatic fill limiter (LP Gas only)

Check the accuracy of the automatic fill limiter (AFL), if fitted, by means of fixed liquid level gauge or a re-fuelling dispenser meter in accordance with Clause 7.12. If there is no AFL fitted retrofitting of an AFL shall be encouraged.

(h) Safety fuel shut off system (LP Gas only)

Test as described in Items (i) or (ii) depending upon the type of system fitted at the container/cylinder.

(i) Automatic fuel shut-off device on a fixed container Deactivate automatic fuel shut-off device at the container by isolating the power supply and run the engine until the fuel service line is empty and the engine stops.

(ii) Excess-flow valve Deactivate automatic fuel shut-off device at the container by operating the current limiting device or removing the fuse or by open circuiting an insulated connector in the automatic fuel shut-off device wiring circuit. NOTE: If the fuel service line is to be disconnected, first remove the negative lead from the battery and take steps to ensure that discharging gas does not become a hazard.

(i) Test of fuel control systems

Check that the automatic fuel shut-off device(s) and the fuel change over system are present and  functioning correctly.  NOTE: Where an automatic fuel shut-off device is not installed at the container (LP Gas systems), retrofitting is to be encouraged.

(j) Manual valves

Open and close all manual valves and test around glands and connections for leaks in both positions.

(k) Compartment or sub-compartment

Check for structural damage. Check around all joints, conduit connections and pipe bulkhead seals for leakage in accordance with Clause 7.8.2. Check conduits for deterioration, damage, kinking or punctures.

(l) Refuelling connection

Check for damage to the refuelling connection and for the presence of foreign matter, and check that the dust cap is present and captive by a chain or similar device. Check that the sealing washer is in place and in satisfactory condition. Check that the housing containing the refuelling connection is soundly attached to the industrial equipment, and that the remote fill line is not deformed or damaged by twisting resulting from a loose housing.

(m) Hydrostatic relief valve (LP Gas only)

Check for damage, blockage, or tampering.

(n) Protrusions from mobile equipment

(i) For forklifts, tow tractors and elevating work platforms, check to ensure that any containers/cylinders, flexible and rigid piping and components remain within the overall contour of the industrial equipment.

(ii) For other mobile industrial equipment, e.g. sweepers, check to ensure that any containers/cylinders and attached components that protrude from the overall contour of the industrial equipment are adequately protected so that the possibility of damage from impact, accident or loose objects is minimized.  Flexible and rigid piping and other components shall remain within the overall contour of the industrial equipment.

(o) Equipment marking

Check that all required plates and markings are present and legible.

You need to make sure that you you have a LPG trained technician working on your LPG forklift at all times.

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By John

John Condron, has had a very long varied career in heavy equipment industry. Including a 10 year stint in the USA materials handling markets. John now make a full time writing for several online publications.