BGCA Chief Executive, Doug Thornton.
Trade Body Warns on Handling of Gas Cylinders
National trade body, the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA), is raising awareness of procedures for handling returned gas cylinders following a reported surge in metal theft.
Doug Thornton, BCGA chief executive, has called for vigilance in the processing and return of cylinders, and says:
"Gas suppliers invest a great deal of resource into the development and maintenance of cylinders to ensure they function safely over many years.
"Despite the size of the market for industrial gases in the United Kingdom, most customers return the thousands of cylinders that are in circulation to their gas supplier.
"Some, however, fail to do so and, unfortunately, a number of cylinders are stolen - more often than not for the scrap value of the metal.
"This is a disturbing trend as the thieves will have little concern over the safety of themselves or the people to whom they sell stolen cylinders and will not care about releasing gases into the environment."
Thornton adds that most gas cylinders which end up at scrap metal yards or waste management facilities have not been abandoned by gas suppliers who are their rightful owners, and urges operators to take reasonable steps to contact owners for permission before destroying them.
BCGA has published information to support the safe handling of gas cylinders on site by the waste management industry.
This includes Leaflet L2 which is dedicated to "The Safe Handling of Gas Cylinders At Waste Facilities", and a flowchart highlighting safe disposal methods for gas cylinders and detailing the processes to be followed to establish legitimate ownership.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Industrial Gas Cylinders are the property of the companies named on the cylinders – and by calling a maximum of three numbers, the cylinders will be collected free-of-charge by authorised staff carrying appropriate identification and returned to their lawful owner.
Robin Edwards of Onis Consulting - a former police lead in metal theft, says:
"In 2017 I stated metal theft was sitting on a precipice and unless action was taken we would see an increase in offending.
"Unfortunately my prediction appears to reflect the current situation.
"Dorset recently reported a 300 per cent increase in metal theft and Network Rail has also published figures that show an 80 per cent increase in delays as a result of metal theft.
"Unfortunately, the price of copper is inflated and has risen close to pre-2013 levels and if you throw a lack of enforcement into to the mix it’s not difficult to see where this is heading.
"We are disappointed to hear of the rising number of metal theft cases, but not surprised as we welcomed the revised Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and the investment at the time by the Home Office in funding extra specialist regional British Transport Police co-ordinators which led to major successes in tackling metal theft crime".
Visit www.bcga.co.uk for additional information.