Listed as a clean fuel in the 1990 Clean Air Act, propane has been used as an efficient, cost-effective energy source since its discovery in 1910. The Propane and Education Research Council, authorised by Congress in 1996, provides comprehensive information for consumers and industry on propane safety. The council publishes compliance guides for propane regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
OSHA Standard 1910.110, Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gases, covers the specific requirements for propane use, transport and storage in the workplace. Regulations for propane containers, odorising, equipment, systems, marking, installation locations, ventilation, storage for large and small tanks, filling, transferring, transportation, sources of ignition and employee requirements are fully covered by OSHA. This OSHA standard is based on NFPA code 58.
National Fire Protection Association
The basis for OSHA's standard on propane, NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, provides guidelines for facilities for propane storage, fire safety analysis, safety control devices on containers and piping, container locations, ignition prevention, protection systems, surrounding environments, emergency procedures and water supply requirements. The guidelines set by the NFPA focus on fire safety and prevention when handling, transporting and storing propane. These are not regulations, but used as a basis for regulation by OSHA and other governmental--federal, state and local--agencies.
The OSHA standard 1910.110(c) also specifies handling and storage of DOT-compliant propane cylinders. The numerous DOT requirements--which are scattered throughout various DOT regulations--cover tank marking requirements, placarding during transportation, container construction, container installation, equipment, systems, safety controls and employee training.
The EPA has a limited number of regulations that apply in part or in whole to propane facilities. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 40, Part 370 requires propane facilities, and others with hazardous chemicals, to submit annual reports. Part 261.5 mandates hazardous waste disposal programs for applicable companies and transporters, while facilities that discharge pollutants into the environment must obtain storm water permits, according to CFR 40 Part 122. Additional EPA regulations apply when using propane as an alternative fuel in engines.