Safety requirement for use of gas cylinders

Butane is usually stored in cylinders with a capacity of 12,5kg or 20kg. Propane is stored in gas cylinders with a capacity that varies between 5kg and 46,5kg. When storing significant quantities of gas cylinders, safety distances must be respected. The color and the capacity of the gas cylinders differ depending on hte distributor. Seminck Gas bottles are grey (propane) and purple (butane). 

Safety requirements for gas cylinders  
Connecting gas cylinders  

Safety regulations for gas vessels

For intensive use (heating, industrial, agricultural uses,...) propane can be stored in vessels. There are above-ground vessels with varying capacities of 500 liters, 1000 liters, 1600 liters, 2500 liters and larger capacities for professional use. There are also buried underground vessels with capacites of 1600 liters and 3000 liters. These vessels are equipped with accessories for the control and securite of the stored gas. When placing the tanks, which are always installed outdoors, safety distances and regulations must be respected. 

Safety distances for gas vessels
Installation of a gas vessel
Inspection of a gas vessel

Personal safety when using propane

Propane evaporates quickly which causes a sharp drop in temperature. In its liquid state, propane can cause serious burns when it comes into contact with the skin. This is why you must use caution when handling propane gas. 

Personal Protective Equipment
Safety Data Sheet 
First Aid
First Aid Sheet (download) 

Properties of propane

Both propane and butane are LPG, or liquified petroleum gases. Both gases have special characteristics. 

Under atmospheric pressure (1 bar) and at a temperature above -42°C, propane is in a gaseous state. When propane is stored in a vessel, it is in a liquid state. In a refinery the propane is put under pressure, which transforms it to a liquid state. For example: liquid propane at a temperature of 15°C has a pressure of 7,3 bar. In its liquid state, propane can easily be stored and transported. 

In gaseous state, propane is colorless and oderless. For safety reasons, an odor agent 'mercaptan' is added to the gas. Because of its pungent rotten-egg smell, a leak can be noticed quickly. 

Butane is also an LPG. The biggest difference between butane and propane is the boiling point, namely the point where butane and propane change from liquid to a gas. Butane's boiling point is at 1°C, while propane's boiling point is significantly lower at -42°C. At low temperatures, propane still evaporates into a gas, whereas this is not the case for butane. This is why butane is not suitable for use in cold environments. 

A comparative chart between propane and butane
Safety information sheet for commercial propane, butane and LPG