Establish written procedures to prevent dangerous propane accidents.

At 8:10 a.m., a customer calls to report that they are out of gas. What happens next could mean the difference between a good day or a bad day for the propane company — and the customer.

Having a good day starts with a formal written program that’s followed for customer out of gas calls, as well as written procedures that office personnel, LP drivers/service technicians follow when out of gas call are received.

Taking the call

For all out of gas calls, trained office personnel should complete an out of gas form. The form should include:

  • Customer name
  • Customer address
  • Customer phone number(s)
  • Date and time of call
  • Employee receiving the call
  • Scheduled delivery or will call customer

The office employee should inform the customer of the company’s out of gas policy and instruct the customer to immediately close the container(s) service valve upon completion of the call. Then the employee should set up an appointment with the customer for an LP-Gas delivery, a leak check and lighting of the pilot lights. The company should immediately send an out of gas service request to its propane driver/service technician.

Making the delivery

Upon arrival to the customer’s home, the Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) propane driver/ service technician should immediately verify that the customer is home and the propane container(s) service valve is shut off. Work should not be performed if the customer is not present.

Before the propane tank is filled, the driver/service technician should inspect the LP-Gas system including the regulators, piping (outside & inside), appliances or equipment. Once the tank is filled, a system leak check should be performed to verify the LP gas system is free of leaks. If the leak check fails, repairs should be made until the leak check passes.

Once the system is leak-free, the driver/service technician should turn on the propane container(s) service valve to pressurize the system and re-enter the customer’s home to purge the system and relight pilot lights or place appliances back into operation.

The service technician should utilize the company work order form to record time on/time off, pressure on/pressure off, repairs (if needed) and the relighting of the pilot lights. The customer should sign the completed work order and receive a copy of the form and LP-Gas safety information pamphlet.

Avoid having a bad day!

Out of gas or I Smell Gas calls are notifications for help that must be handled efficiently, consistently and with priority. The lack of written procedures in place can create additional hazards for the company and customer.

Nationwide’s claims data shows that devastating consequences can result when written practices and procedures are not followed when handling out of gas calls. With out of gas situations, there’s a significant increase in the potential for gas explosions, destruction of property, personal injury and possibility the loss of life.

Additional consequences can include loss of customers and skilled employees, irreversible damage to your business reputation, costly legal fees and higher insurance premiums.

So, make every day a good day in the propane business by following sound written policies and procedures, including performing a documented leak check for every out of gas call. Make sure you’re performing regular LP-Gas training sessions with all employees, training every new employee as part of a new employee orientation process, and verifying that current policies and procedures are being followed.

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