Families have many choices when it comes to their spring or summer cooking methods. Many people are all too eager to take the heat produced from cooking outside and therefore utilize a charcoal or gas grill. There are many versions of gas grills including small units that utilize a miniature propane tank that one might make use of on a camping trip. However, many people make use of much larger grills that use full-size propane tanks. Still, other people may use a semi-permanent grilling fixture that has a dedicated gas line running to it. Unfortunately, when there is a larger tank or a continuous supply of gas, the risk of potential injury or death only increases.
Regardless of the exact model of a gas grill, you choose to utilize this summer, you should always take certain precautions to minimize the risk of an uncontrolled fire, explosion, or both. Additionally, if your grill has been in storage over the summer, engage in some preventative steps and maintenance to protect your and your family’s health and safety. Contact a Philadelphia product liability lawyer if you were severely hurt by a grill.
Use Care When Transporting or Driving with Compressed Gas Tanks
A simple fact regarding using compressed gas with a grill is that you need to transport it to and from a filling station or tank exchange location. Many people, unfortunately, seem to have the attitude of, “what’s the worst that can happen” when transporting compressed gas. Unfortunately, consequences of a ruptured or even leaking propane tank can cause life-altering injuries or even death. Should the vehicle transporting the tank be involved in an accident or wreck, the tank can potentially rupture and explode. Consider the size and force of the explosion in the following YouTube video:
The individual exiting the vehicle is blown back by the force of the explosion. The driver of the vehicle survived, but not without severe burns. Now, imagine if the vehicle was a not a pickup truck, but an ordinary passenger vehicle and the tank was placed in the back seat. Clearly, serious and perhaps fatal injuries would occur.
However, the tank doesn’t even have to be ruptured to present a serious risk. Consider a scenario where the attendant at the filling or exchange station fails to properly close the valve on the tank or the tank is defective and leaks gas. If the tank is left in the vehicle for several hours, gas fumes will build up inside the vehicle. When the door is opened or the engine is started, the risk of fire or explosion is significant.
Consider the following image from the Office of Compliance’s August 2006 issue.
The image shows the aftermath from a driver who accidentally left an acetylene gas cylinder with a slightly opened valve in his vehicle over the weekend. When the door was opened, the gas ignited and destroyed the vehicle. It is at least theoretically feasible that similar destruction could occur with a leaky or defective propane tank. Explosion risks also exist if the tank is negligently overfilled and lacking an overfill protection device and allowed to sit in an extremely hot vehicle.
How Can Consumers Minimize Risks When Using Propane Tanks?
Regular safety checks can make the difference between a safe and enjoyable grilling experience and painful burns and other injuries. To start, if you use a tank exchange, you should always visually inspect the new tank when you receive it. If the tank is rusted, dented, or otherwise appears to be in less than pristine condition you should refuse the tank and ask for another replacement. Furthermore, if this is the first time you are setting the grill up for the year, it is especially important to ensure that all gas lines are clear from debris such as animal nests. Similarly, be sure that the gas lines are free from sharp bends that could obstruct gas flow or cracks that could allow gas to escape. Once you are done checking the gas lines, be sure that they are free and clear from any areas where hot grease could drip down and cause damage.
Before you attempt to ignite the grill, be sure that the ignitor is working consistently. A defective or worn-out ignitor could allow gas to accumulate while you attempt to get it to function. When the ignitor finally does work, the pooled gas can ignite or explode.
Injured by a Defective Propane or Gas Tank? Call The Reiff Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve suffered a serious injury from a defective propane tank, the Chester County, Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm may be able to fight for compensation for you. Injuries from propane tanks can include severe burns, lost fingers or limbs, eardrum damage, and other life-altering injuries. To schedule a free and confidential initial legal consultation call (215) 246-9000 today.