Summer barbecues are fueled by propane, which raises the danger for grillers and everyone around them. This highly explosive and flammable material has been responsible for numerous accidents. Before turning on the grill, one should know the dangers of propane and follow basic safety tips.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that almost 10,000 house fires each year are caused by grills. The overwhelming majority of these fires are caused by gas grills. Propane is every bit as dangerous as gasoline. Gas leaks and explosions can cause severe injuries including severe burns, the loss of fingers, a hand, an arm, or another limb, or shrapnel injuries. In some cases, propane explosions can be deadly.
Propane fires and explosions have a number of causes. They include:
- Faulty gas regulators that can break the tube that carries the propane to the grill
- A leak in the hose that transports the gas
- A defective propane tank that could break or suffer a puncture
- Malfunctioning pressure relief valves
- Faulty ignitors
Many injured grillers file product liability lawsuits against the company that made the grill and the propane tank manufacturers. Manufacturers are liable when they produce a defective product that injures someone. A personal injury lawyer could investigate and help prove that the grill itself was defective, creating a legal right to financial compensation.
Propane equipment manufacturers and companies that make grills are not the only ones who can be held liable for injuries, however. Sometimes, the authorized sellers of propane and propane cylinders fail to comply with their obligations to inspect equipment and make sure tanks are properly filled. In these types of cases, the propane dealer may be at fault for causing injuries or deaths.
In the meantime, users need to focus on safety first when lighting their propane grills. Paying extra close attention to the condition of propane cylinders and hoses can reduce the risk of explosions. Another important safety tip is for grillers to make sure that the grill is completely turned off after use. This includes checking the controls to ensure that they are off and the cylinder to see that it is closed. Gas leaks can lead to buildup the next time the grill is activated, and this could cause a deadly explosion.
Additionally, grill owners should be sure to check the ignitor to ensure it is producing a consistent spark while in use. If the ignitor is failing, propane can build up, raising the risk of an explosion when the ignitor begins functioning.
Grill owners also need to focus extra attention on the propane cylinder and how it is stored. It should be kept outside and away from any ignition sources. It should also be stored in an upright position.
Finally, one of the most important safety tools that a grill owner can have is a leak detection solution. This can spot even small gas leaks before they become a major problem. One should use this safety device every time before lighting a propane grill. This is an inexpensive safety tool that can make a big difference in minimizing the risk of a fire or explosion.