Patio Heater Guidelines

With the nights getting colder, patio heaters are the perfect way to drag the summer out a little longer and enjoy the outdoors before the cold sets in. Whether you or your business uses patio heaters in areas designed for staff or customers, it’s essential to be aware of the risks they can pose.

  1. Patio heaters are for outdoor use only and should never be used indoors, in enclosed spaces, inside a tents or marquees, or close to umbrellas or any combustible fixtures, fittings or decorations.

  2. Heaters should never be moved when alight, and should be only be moved when they have cooled down sufficiently.

  3. Ensure that heaters are positioned or fixed in a way that they cannot be adversely affected by strong winds or accidentally knocked over by other objects.

  4. If the heaters require maintenance or servicing, or are in need of repair, this should only be performed by a competent person, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. Heaters on commercial premises will need to be checked for safety before the start of each season and there cannot be longer than 12 months between each inspection.

  6. The products of combustion and fuel can create hazards in terms of carbon monoxide and fire/explosion, ensure that staff are aware of the signs of any fault on the equipment or gas leak and know what action to take – turn the gas supply off at the cylinder valve and remove the equipment from service until it can be inspected by a competent person.

  7. On LPG appliances, the hose connecting the cylinder to the heater is a regular source of failure. Both the fittings and the condition of the hose will need to be checked regularly. Any new or replacement hoses should comply with BS3212 regulations.

  8. The storage of patio heaters should be in accordance with RISC Authority document RC8 – recommendations for the storage, use and handling of common industrial gases in cylinders including LPG, can be downloaded for free from www.riscauthority.co.uk

  9. When using and storing LPG cylinders you will need to ensure that you have included their use in any general or fire risk assessments and that you have also considered the implications of The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

  10. New or replacement cylinders must be of the appropriate type, as specified by the manufacturer and the users that are expected to change any cylinders should be suitably trained and competent enough to do so.

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