LPG spills may create more dangerous hazardous areas than was previously known, according to the results of research published in the Journal of the Society of Ecological Chemistry and Engineering.

A team in Poland – where around one in ten cars on the public roads run on liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG – examined the consequences of different scales of LPG spill in enclosed public car parks and industrial settings.

They found that spills can create highly explosive hazardous areas that can persist for a long time, but with the right hazardous area equipment these risks can be minimised.

For instance, they found that the LPG vapour tends to settle at ground level, creating more of an explosive risk there.

But gas detectors are often fitted much higher up, potentially missing the low-level cloud of combustible LPG, and the researchers recommend that detectors should therefore be fitted only around 30cm from the floor.

They added that an LPG cloud can stay at floor level in an enclosed garage “for a long time, which generates a high explosive hazard”.

With adequate ventilation using suitable hazardous area equipment to safely disperse the LPG – or any combustible gas, in fact – there is no need for this risk to last any longer than necessary before a temporary hazardous area can be dealt with and safety restored.