Propane cylinder storage facilities are some of the most dangerous workplaces listed by OSHA. The presence of propane tanks and cylinders means if an incident occurs, the entire place could go up in flames.
Additionally, these facilities are susceptible to theft. Unscrupulous individuals tend to try and get away with many propane cylinders in a bid to use or sell them. Sometimes, when an employee gets laid off they might want to get back at the owner. To do so they can conduct a raid on the facility to steal or cause damage.
Propane is a highly flammable substance and thus it can get used as an explosive to make a bomb. Terrorists have previously used stolen propane cylinders to make explosive devices.
With all the above scenarios in mind, it is essential for a propane facility owner or manager to have a decent level of safety and security.
If you own or manage a propane storage facility, this article is for you. If you want to learn more about how to safeguard your facility, keep reading.
Why You Need to Keep Your Propane Facility Safe
Unfortunately, some propane storage facility owners don’t understand the downside of having lax security. Hence, before getting into the security measures to install in your facility, here are five key reasons you need security.
1. Prevent Theft
Propane cylinders are relatively light to carry which makes them very easy to steal. If robbers notice that your security is not top-notch, they will consistently pick on your business.
A criminal who steals for personal use may steal one cylinder. However, if a criminal intends to sell the cylinders, they will steal as many as they can. They might even clean you out if possible.
If all your cylinders get stolen, then you will have to incur a substantial loss. Such can lead to the closure of your business.
With adequate security measures, it’s easy to curb down on theft.
As mentioned earlier, propane is a highly flammable substance. If the propane cylinders get stored in easily accessible areas they can get damaged or tampered. Hence the safety of your employees is at risk.
As a result, OSHA has published a set of safety requirements for propane storage facilities.
3. Prevent Employees from Stealing
Theft doesn’t only come from intruders. There have been cases where propane storage facilities get robbed with help from employees.
Pilferage is common in these facilities primarily because the security measures implemented are for keeping burglars out. However, sometimes the burglars are your own employees.
Hence, you also need adequate security measures to watch your employees and prevent them from stealing from the facility.
Remember, your employees know how your business operates. Thus they can cover up their theft by providing false inventory records. In such a case your business will incur losses that cannot be explained by the books.
4. Restricting Access to Cylinders
It is essential to limit the number of people who have access to your propane cylinders. The point of this is to prevent anyone from tampering with them. In most cases, people want to steal your cylinders. Nonetheless, someone with a bone to pick with you will try and damage your cylinders.
For instance, if you have bad blood with a business rival or you fired an employee. These people are likely to try to harm your business by any means necessary. The most effective way for them to do so is by damaging your main product.
Hence, irrespective of how safe your perimeter wall is, also ensure that your cylinders get stored in restricted access areas. This way if any tampering takes place, it is easier to trace who is responsible.
5. Respecting Regulation
Due to the sensitive nature of propane, storage facilities are required by various institutions to put in place adequate security.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (CFATS) propane storage facilities need to install monitored video surveillance. This comes as a result of the growing threat of terrorism. Monitored surveillance ensures that someone is actively watching the facility in case someone wants to blow it up or steal the cylinders.
What Are Best Security Measures for Propane Cylinder Storage
When thinking about propane storage facility security, you need to understand you are safeguarding your cylinders from:
- Unintentional damage
Additionally, you are not only securing them from intruders but also from your employees. Especially those who may not be straightforward.
Hence, here are five of the most common security measures utilized to secure propane cylinders.
1. Gas Cylinder Cages
These are metallic cages used to house cylinders while they are in storage. The cages act as protective cases that prevent unauthorized access to the cylinders.
To get the best out of cylinder cages, you need to get those made of re-enforced steel or galvanized metal.
Nowadays, thieves have become resourceful and they can obtain hand-held saws. These saws can cut through regular metal like butter. Hence, you want a cage that can withstand a handheld saw, and brute force from a hammer or an ax.
Remember, no cage is full proof but it should at least delay the robbery for as long as possible. The longer it takes to break through a propane cylinder cage, the more likely it is for the thieves to get caught in the act.
Additionally, giving only your most trusted employees access to the cage reduces theft from other employees.
2. Cylinder Cabinets
Propane cylinder cabinets provide the same security as cages but they are a more versatile option. Cabinets get made like safes with thick metallic walls and a door.
Heavy-duty steel cabinets are almost impossible to break into and are very effective in limiting access to the propane cylinders. You can choose between meshed cabinets and walled cabinets.
Meshed cabinets have a steel mesh that allows people to view the cylinders without having to open the cabinet. These are effective in preventing tampering when the propane cylinders are on display.
Walled cabinets provide zero visibility to the cylinders inside. Nonetheless, they are very effective when storing away the propane cylinders.
3. Round Clock Security Guards
Hiring a security guard to provide security to your propane storage facility is also a security option.
Having security guards constantly on watch at your facility is bound to keep intruders away from your cylinders. However, security guards are rather expensive since they are paid per hour.
Unfortunately, security guards are susceptible to colluding with burglars to make an extra buck. Majority of the propane cylinder thefts that have involved an inside man indicate the guards had a part to play in the robbery.
4. Fill Valve Locks
Instead of stealing filled propane cylinders, some individuals opt to refill their empty cylinders right from the fill valve. This can be dangerous especially if the individuals are not allowed to conduct refills for themselves. In a bid to make a quick getaway they may leave the valve improperly locked which can cause an accident.
To prevent this type of theft, fill valve locks are the best option. These locks require an access key which is a number code in order to open the valve. Only authorized personnel have access to the code and hence only they can provide refill services.
A propane lock is a great way to minimize employee theft because some employees refill propane cylinders in exchange for cash without authorization.
5. Remote Monitored Video Surveillance
This security option involves installing a CCTV surveillance system all around the facility. The CCTV feeds are directed to a central command center where personnel monitor the activities of the facility remotely.
Remote Monitored Video Surveillance gets considered as the most effective security measure because of the following reasons.
- It is cheaper than hiring several security guards to monitor the facility
- It provides round the clock monitoring of the facility
- The facility owner or manager can access the live feed of the surveillance via their phone
- The command center notifies security or calls the police if there is signs of a potential burglary in progress
Because the security system gets monitored remotely, it is perfect for minimizing cases of employee theft. Your employees have no access to the command center and thus they cannot collude with them to steal from you.
Conclusion on How to Keep Your Propane Cylinder Storage Facility Safe
Propane cylinder storage facilities are prone to instances of theft from intruders as well as the facilities employees. Most of the measures recommended above should be able to prevent cases of theft.
However, remotely monitored video surveillance is the best supplementary security measure you could want. This is because the facility gets monitored when it counts, when the facility is closed. Additionally, at the first sign of trouble, a quick response unit or the police get sent to intervene. All these at a fee lower than the cost of having full-time security guards at the facility.
If interested in such a system always ensure to check for features such as:
- Motion detector triggered recording
- Surveillance footage backup
- The availability of a quick response unit to handle intruders when detected
If you are in search of a reliable, professional remote video surveillance monitoring for your facility, get in touch with us. Let us ease your facility security needs with a state of the art surveillance system and a dedicated team of surveillance experts at our command center.