Propane Council Promotes Farm Safety
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Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2007) – With nearly 80 percent of U.S. farmers utilizing propane as an energy source, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) identifies farm safety as an important aspect of its mission to invest in efforts aimed to benefit the agriculture industry. With harvest beginning in many parts of the country, President Bush declared September 16-22 the first National Farm Safety and Health Week. PERC supports this effort with an unending commitment to safety in all aspects of the propane industry. One of PERC’s strategic goals for agriculture remains to minimize incidents and accidents associated with propane use in agriculture.
“PERC recognizes the need for increased awareness of safe work habits on our nation’s farms,” said PERC Director of Agriculture Programs Mark Leitman. “The creation of a National Farm Safety and Health Week is a great way to create awareness and enhance safety for all workers in the U.S. agriculture industry who are critical in providing food, fiber, and other resources we all rely upon.”
PERC provides several tools to help farmers and other consumers use propane safely in the home and on the farm. Consumers may visit www.propanesafety.com to download tips for safe grilling, small-cylinder and large-tank safety information, safety recommendations in case of unusual circumstances such as wildfires and hurricanes, and storm safety tips. Many of these safety recommendations also apply to the use of propane on the farm.
In addition, PERC recently funded the development of training materials that provide farmers with instructions on how to safely refuel mobile propane-powered agricultural equipment. This is in direct response to the growing use of propane in mobile applications in recent years. Propane is gaining popularity as a heat solution for organic weed control, flame sanitation in poultry operations, and even propane pickup trucks. This propane equipment offers other safety benefits to farmers because it may reduce the use of chemicals on farms and propane is one of the cleanest-burning fuels available. The use of propane can reduce emissions of carbon and other harmful compounds compared with gasoline or diesel fuel.
PERC is also working to develop new propane safety educational materials for rural youth through a partnership with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. These materials will be available to instructors who teach safety lessons at over 350 safety day camps held annually throughout the United States. For more information on this program and a complete listing of safety days, visit http://www.progressiveag.org/.
As part of National Farm Safety and Health Week, PERC offers these safety tips for people in the agriculture industry.
•Learn what propane smells like. Propane retailers have access to scratch-and-sniff pamphlets to help your family recognize its distinctive odor.If you detect a gas leak, immediately evacuate everyone from the house and call your local propane provider or the fire department from a neighbor’s telephone.
•Know where gas lines are located, so you won't damage them when digging or working in the yard or around the farm.
•Follow manufacturer recommendations for proper propane equipment and appliance maintenance, and always ensure maintenance is performed by qualified technicians.
•Never use or tamper with a damaged propane cylinder. Always contact a trained professional for service on your propane tank or cylinder.
•Do not smoke or have any ignition sources such as flames or spark-producing electrical tools in the area while handling or transporting cylinders.
•Never store small propane cylinders, such as those commonly used for barbeques, indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, or tent.Don't store cleaning fluids, oil-soaked rags, gasoline, or other flammable liquids near a gas-burning appliance where vapors could be ignited by the pilot light.
•Federal and state regulations and guidelines are in place for the safe handling and transport of propane. Ask your local propane dealer for more information on the safe use and handling of propane on your farm and in your home.
Propane is a reliable energy source that is clean, efficient, and environmentally friendly. It is non-toxic, so it does not contaminate aquifers or soil. As a clean, alternative fuel approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), propane offers lower greenhouse gas emissions than many other fuel options without compromising performance in a wide range of applications. At the point of use, propane has lower carbon emissions than gasoline, diesel, and heavy fuel oil.
PERC’s vision in agriculture is that, by 2010, the agricultural industry will recognize propane as a preferred energy source offering exceptional value. This value is achieved through a unique combination of product benefits, including cost-effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, reliability, portability, and environmental friendliness.
For more information on PERC and its programs to promote the safe and efficient use of propane in agriculture, call (202) 452-8975 or visit http://www.agpropane.com/.