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Remember to odorise
Originally published:  13/04/2012
The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a reminder to companies shipping LPG in bulk by rail that cargoes should be odorised and that account should be taken of ‘odorant fade’ when determining the volume of odorant to be added. In a Safety Advisory issued this past April 13, FRA notes a number of incidents in which consignments arrived at their destination either under-odorised or non-odorised.
As LPG vaporises into a colourless, odourless gas, odorants are normally added to the liquid phase to assist in detecting any leaks. Most LPG produced for non-industrial uses is orodised by the shipper. FRA says the presence of non-odorised LPG in the consumer supply chain “represents significant safety risks”.
The US Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) currently provide standards for the odorisation of LPG shipped in cargo tanks and portable tanks, but not in rail tank cars. This is an omission that FRA is looking to rectify. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both have their own odorisation standards and most US states have their own laws or codes on the subject.
Pending specific regulation applicable to rail tank cars, FRA is recommending that industry reviews its current practices with respect to the odorisation of LPG cargoes and the inspection of rail tank cars in LPG use.