The standards agency has released new rules forcing manufacturers to invest in new materials when making cooking gas cylinders and petroleum tankers to minimise explosions.
Among them is one requiring companies to use reinforced steel and aluminium materials in making cylinders.
Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Bernard Njiraini said the changes will affect cylinders, tankers, installation sites as well as other measures on handling, transporting and storage of bulk cooking gas as well as petroleum material in above-ground and under-the-ground storage units.
“Petroleum and LPG products are highly flammable that require proper storage during transportation and storage within a users’ premises,” the MD said adding that last year witnessed 44 explosions involving gas cylinders and petroleum tankers.
The new standards, which took effect this week also dictate that non-conforming LPG cylinders be isolated and destroyed to avert incidents where unscrupulous traders fill defective containers for onward sale to unsuspecting consumers.
The standards takes note of three kilogramme and six kilogramme domestic cylinders where it sets new standards for accompanying mountable burners and cylinder grills.
Mr Njiraini said LPG tankers must conform to the new standards that ensure that no gas or petroleum product leakage occurs even after an accident happens. “For the last one year, a total of 44 incidences involving LPG and petroleum tankers rollover and spillages as well as LPG cylinders were recorded.
These standards address the problem of fire disasters due to accidents involving LPG and other petroleum products road tankers overturning on transit and cylinder explosions,” he said.
Last year, the Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) urged consumers purchasing cooking gas to take pro-active measures that will facilitate cylinder traceability in case of a gas-related accident.
PIEA general manager Wanjiku Manyara said consumers must demand a receipt upon purchase of any product indicating retailer details, cylinder brand name, serial number, date of sale, net weight in kilogrammes, unit and total price of transaction.
“Every liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder must be accompanied by safety instructions, manufacturing/revalidation date with each cylinder revalidated every eight years,” it said.
Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority has in the past expressed its fears over an emerging illegal LPG re-filling enterprise where popular LPG brands have their cylinders refilled and fitted with substandard valves.
This, says EPRA, exposes Kenyans to imminent risk of gas-related accidents as well as sabotaging genuine businesses that spend millions of shilling to market their products.
LPG use in Kenya stands at less than 10 percent, mostly blamed on high prices where a refilled 13 kilogramme cylinder costs almost Sh2,000 while a filled six size kilogramme goes for Sh1,000.