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Warning Against Disabling of Excess Flow Valves in LPG Hoses (Flexible Pigtails)

1 March 2013

Energy Safety warns gas practitioners against disabling excess flow valves with non-metallic high pressure LPG hoses (flexible pigtails).

The warning follows an LPG-fuelled fire, jointly investigated by Energy Safety and the NZ Fire Service, that resulted in significant property damage. The Fire Service expressed concerns after fire fighters in attendance were confronted with a conflagration from burning LPG flowing from a flexible pigtail at high pressure. Subsequent enquiries revealed that an excess flow valve in the flexible pigtail had been disabled. This meant that the fire fighters faced additional hazards and that property damage was greater than would have been the case if the excess flow valve had operated.

The enquiries also revealed that the company that had installed LPG at the premises had disabled a number of other excess flow valves by removing a ball in the pigtail inlets. The company involved have subsequently reported that they have now fitted replacement (new) pigtails with excess flow valves after being made aware of the resultant hazard.

Energy Safety has referred the matter to the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board for their consideration.

Excess flow valves are particularly important with flexible pigtails because they provide protection against excess flow if the pigtail is damaged by agents such as heat, force or sharp objects.

Clause 4.6 of AS/NZS 5601.1 2010 Gas Installations, requires excess flow valves where flexible pigtails are used between the LPG cylinder valve and inlet to the first regulator. Disabling the excess flow valve not only creates a hazard but also constitutes an offence against the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010.