Two incidents of cylinder bursts in the State recently have ignited a debate over the possible reasons behind the occurrence of such accidents.
While carelessness on the part of the customer was the main cause in most cases, apprehensions exist on the lapses in ensuring safety by gas marketing companies.
“The cylinder will not blast on its own; accidents are caused,” said N. Srikumar, Executive Director, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, which markets Indane.
He told The Hindu that in one incident it was found that a woman left her house after leaving a vessel of milk for boiling on the stove. The milk overflowed and extinguished the flame, while the gas continued to leak. The explosion occurred when the woman lit the stove again.
Refrigerators in kitchens could also lead to accidents, he said. Thermostats in refrigerators emit sparks. Such sparks could be dangerous when there is a leakage from the stove or the pipe connecting the cylinder and the stove, he said.
Backfire in cylinders containing inflammable gas could lead to cylinder blasts, A.G. Nair, a distributor of industrial gases, told The Hindu. Safety valves are only present in regulators, not in the LPG cylinders.
If the regulators do not function properly, there is chance for a backfire, according to him. There is a safety valve mechanism in cylinders containing flammable industrial gases such as acetylene, he said.
The issue of cylinder blasts could be tackled by installing special devices on the cylinder to prevent the reverse flow of gas. Anti-blast LPG cylinder valve could be fitted on the cooking gas cylinders. Such a device is being sold by a Pune based company.
Muktar Lokhandwala, a distributor of the product, based in Surat, told The Hindu that the product was launched six months ago and claimed that there was huge demand for it.
The anti-blast LPG cylinder valve is fitted atop the cylinder. Once the outside temperature or pressure goes up, the valve shuts down the supply from the cylinder and prevents the possibility of a reverse flow which could lead to a blast.
In case of malfunction of the valve, the customer can claim insurance up to Rs.1 crore. He also claimed that the LPG marketing companies have okayed installation of the device on the domestic cylinders.