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Calor exceeds national safety requirements

27 August 2008

For Calor, the UK’s leading supplier of LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), safely handling extremely flammable gas is at the core of the entire business. To maintain a consistently high level of safety and reduce costs across a network of over 50 sites, safety specialist Pyroban has helped Calor standardise safety nationwide to prevent its forklift trucks being a potential source of ignition.

Calor exceeds national safety requirements
Calor exceeds national safety requirements

Over 4 million UK homes and businesses rely on the clean burning fuel of Calor Gas for a variety of applications. The company supplies its customers through distribution centres and retail outlets, exchanging old for new cylinders or managing their bulk tank requirements.

The Calor Gas cylinders or bulk tanks contain LPG in the form of Propane or Butane. When handled correctly, the tanks or cylinders pose no threat of explosion, however, the risk of fire or explosion cannot be ruled out in Calor’s cylinder filling operations, or where the gas and cylinders are held in significantly high concentrations.

Calor Gas works closely with the HSE to ensure that all of its operations are completed safely, especially in areas where the risk of fire or explosion exists.
Calor’s gas storage and distribution centres are classified as Zone 2 with pockets of Zone 1, due to the volume of gas stored and the filling activity that occurs on a daily basis. At these sites, forklift trucks are essential for the movement of pallets of gas cylinders and bulk tanks. Without adequate protection, the forklift could be the source of an ignition. Calor has exceeded the minimum requirement for Zone 2 and implemented an internal engineering standard for all forklift trucks used at their sites known as FLT2a. Rosemary Scott, a Buyer for Calor Gas at the company’s headquarters in Warwick who is responsible for the purchase of all Calor’s forklift trucks nationwide explained “FLT2a is a Calor specification developed by our safety and engineering teams together with Pyroban. It means that every new forklift truck will include Pyroban’s system 5000 explosion protection solution which incorporates gas detection to alert the operator of a potential gas leak. Our suppliers must also demonstrate that every service engineer working on our site is trained on the Pyroban systems and maintains the equipment according to Pyroban’s recommendations.”
With System 5000, Pyroban converts a standard forklift truck so that it is ATEX compliant using explosion protection methods which include reducing the surface temperature of the engine and exhaust gas temperature, assessing and modifying arcing and sparking components and preventing a flame reaching the atmosphere through the inlet system or overspeed if the engine were to ingest a vapour. Previously Calor had used several different methods of safety on its forklift trucks resulting in a mixture of approaches across the country. “Some sites had trucks built for zone 1 areas, which was not entirely necessary and more costly. Pyroban helped us to re-address our processes so that we could standardise safety and reduce the overall fleet cost by standardising it for Zone 2 operation.

At the Calor retail centres which are classified as non-hazardous areas and do not legally require any special explosion prevention measures, Calor has implemented a new standard known as FLT3a. Every new truck brought into the centres will meet with FLT3a specifications as a cautionary line of defence in the unlikely event that there is a release of gas. The FLT3a includes a number of Pyroban features such as Gascheka, which is a gas detection and shutdown system, cladded forks to prevent mechanical sparks and a seat trigger which deactivates the engine after a given period if the operator leaves his / her seat.

Scott continued “A major part of Calor’s business is the supply of LPG for powering forklift trucks. FLT3a specification with Pyroban’s Gascheka allows us to safely use LPG trucks on our own sites. A release of gas is not expected, however if it does occur, the LPG forklift will be shutdown automatically.”

Calor has been working with Pyroban for over 5 years and has developed a strong working relationship. As Pyroban’s Customer Services Manager Rob Vesty explains “Calor has taken the right approach in standardising its purchasing criteria as their storage facilities, distribution sites and retail operations are standard across the country. With these new specifications, we expect to reduce Calor’s total materials handling fleet costs and enhance overall safety for every Calor site that uses a forklift truck.”

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