Do you own or operate a propane tank in BC?
Owners of propane tanks should know that an operating permit is required for each tank in operation in BC and pressurized above 15 pounds per square inch gauge (psig). This is clarified in the directive Operating Permit Requirements for Propane Pressure Vessels (Directive #D-BP-2015-01).
Here you will find information about your responsibilities as an owner or operator, and the steps to follow to obtain an operating permit for your propane tank if you do not already have one.
Why is this important?
Since 2004, BC law requires all pressure vessel owners to have a permit to use this type of equipment. In particular, when pressure vessels are used to store large quantities of combustible fuel, such as propane, there is a safety risk involved to owners and the surrounding public and property.
An operating permit is required for propane tanks so Technical Safety BC can provide safety oversight. Having this data enables us to assess hazards and effectively communicate important safety information to owners so that they can protect themselves, their equipment and those around them.
What is the process to apply for an operating permit?
- Tank owners should complete an Operating Permit Application for Propane Pressure Vessels and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-866-566-7233 for assistance.
- After submitting the application, owners with more than five tanks or with tanks in more than one location will be emailed a spreadsheet with the required data fields to complete. The data required will include (but is not limited to): the information on the tank's name plate, and the tank location.
- Tank owners will be contacted if further clarification or information is required.
- Tank owners will receive an invoice.
- Once payment is processed, an operating permit will be issued. For tanks that are eligible for the fee waiver (see below) an operating permit will be issued after the permit application is processed.
Operating permits for propane tanks should be renewed on an annual basis. The tank owner will receive a renewal invoice per year.
Propane tank owners are required to pay an annual fee under one of the following fee models:
- Standard permit fees: An annual fee is applicable to each tank and will be based on its physical dimensions. Details on applicable fees are available here.
- Alternative permit fees: Large operators or suppliers may apply to submit a Safety Management Plan as an alternative method to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Safety Standards Act, associated regulations and adopted codes. Fees will vary based on the scope of their operations. Please see the Alternative Safety Approaches (ASA) section of our website for more information.
If you rent or lease a propane tank, your tank supplier may or may not pass along various fees. We encourage all propane users to understand these fee models and contact their propane tank supplier if they have any questions about their fees.
Fee waiver (applicable to both the standard and ASA models)
The operating permit fee will be automatically waived for tanks equal to or less than 500 USWG, regardless of purpose or use. For tanks over 500 USWG that are used for residential purposes only, owners can apply for a waiver.
‘Residential purposes’ applies to any tank in which propane is stored to provide fuel to a structure used primarily as a private residence but does not include a hotel. A hotel is defined in the Hotel Guest Registration Act as an inn or building in which private rooms are maintained for the accommodation of the public.
If safety concerns or non-compliances are discovered that require safety officers to revisit a site, re-assessment fees may still apply to cover costs.
Regardless of whether the fee is waived or not, all owners of tanks that are in operation and pressurized above 15 psig are required to apply for a permit and provide their tank data to Technical Safety BC.
What are my responsibilities as an operating permit holder?
- Applying and paying for the permit, including annual renewals.
- Complying with the terms and conditions of the operating permit.
- Ensuring the permit is in place at all times when the tank is in operation and / or whenever maintenance or repairs are being performed on the tank.
- Ensuring all regulated work is done by individuals with the appropriate certification who are employed by either a company with a valid gas contractor’s licence or, where applicable, an establishment with a valid operating permit allowing regulated work.
- On completion of an assessment by a safety officer, Technical Safety BC will advise the operating permit holder of any safety issue or code non-compliance. The permit holder must then correct the issue or non-compliance and advise Technical Safety BC.
Who can work on a propane tank?
It’s important to note that for any propane tank, only individuals with certain qualifications can perform particular types of work:
|Type of Work||Who can do the work|
|In-service inspection||An individual who has successfully completed an inspection training program with proper documentation and validation such as a “training certificate”.|
|Routine maintenance, limited to:
||An individual holding an operating permit or an employee of the operating permit holder.|
|Replacement of accessories (fittings, pressure relief valves, gauges etc.)||An individual holding either an active Class A or B Gasfitter Certificate of Qualification while working under a valid Gas Contractor Licence.|
|Evacuating or transferring liquid or vapour propane from a container||An individual trained and certified as required in CSA B149.2 Propane Storage and Handling Code section 5.2.1. The certificate of training type must be recognized by a provincial safety manager.|
|Repair (welding, etc.)||An individual holding a valid Class A or Au Contractor Licence under the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessels and Refrigeration Safety Regulation.|
Talk to your propane supplier about maintenance or click here to find a licensed gas contractor.
How does Technical Safety BC provide safety oversight?
To help clients ensure that their tanks meet safety standards, Technical Safety BC utilizes a risk-based, sample and audit approach to identify areas of greatest safety concern. Our Accident Prevention Model includes:
- Assessment via sample inspections and audits of tank maintenance records.
- Education, such as providing information and videos on propane equipment safety.
- Enforcement to ensure that propane equipment is properly installed, maintained and safe.
- Research into incidents involving propane.
Click here to find out about the servicing and inspection intervals for your propane storage tank and pressure relief valve.
Do propane cylinders require an operating permit?
Propane cylinders (e.g., used with barbecues, small heating equipment, and recreation vehicles) are subject to Transport Canada regulations and do not require a Technical Safety BC operating permit. For more details, see the ‘Transportation of Dangerous Goods - Containers’ section under ‘Safety’ on Transport Canada’s website.