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Refurbished Gas Cylinders

Nigerians have been facing tough economic times due to inflation and the economic crisis. As a result, they have come up with various improvisations to save money and cope with the situation. However, some of these improvisations may be putting their lives at risk, especially when it comes to cooking gas cylinders.

The cost of gas cylinders has risen significantly, making it difficult for average homes to afford and still fill them with gas. This situation is made worse by the high pump price of kerosene, which would have been an alternative. For instance, a 5kg gas cylinder costs N16,000 while filling it with cooking gas costs N5,200. This means that an average home with a worn-out 5kg cylinder will need N20,250 to buy a new one and fill it, which is hard to come by.

Refurbished Gas Cylinders
Refurbished Gas Cylinders

To cope with this situation, many Nigerians have resorted to refurbishing their old gas cylinders instead of buying new ones. They take them to welders who patch them up, repaint them, and even construct new stands for them. However, this practice is not without its dangers.

Refurbished cylinders are more prone to explosions than brand new ones. This is because the welding done during refurbishment weakens the metal, making it more susceptible to leaks and cracks. This increases the risk of gas leaks, which can lead to explosions if ignited by a spark or flame. Gas leaks can also cause asphyxiation, which is when a person suffocates due to lack of oxygen.

In addition to welding weakening the metal, some welders may not have the expertise to handle gas cylinders safely. They may use substandard materials or techniques that compromise the integrity of the cylinder. This often leads to gas leaks and other hazards that put people at risk.

Several of the interviews conducted reveal the dangers of refurbishing old cylinders. Mrs. Rukayat Adesoji, a trader, had her cylinder patched up by a welder who repainted it, but it no longer stands erect. She has been using it nonetheless. This shows that the welding done on the cylinder was not done correctly, weakening the metal and putting her and her family at risk.

Similarly, Mrs. Mercy Opara, a hair stylist, has been using her cylinder for over seven years without knowing its expiry date. She is taking it to a welder to spray it, hoping that this will make it look new. This lack of awareness about cylinders’ expiry dates and the risks associated with using expired cylinders is widespread in Nigeria.

Mr. Adekanbi Joseph, a welder, charges N4,500 to paint and rebuild cylinder stands. He receives many customers because new cylinders are now expensive to buy. This highlights the economic hardship faced by Nigerians and their willingness to take risks to save money.

However, this practice is risky and can lead to deadly consequences. Mr. Benjamin Hope, the CEO of FKT Cooking Gas and General Goods, explained that a brand new cylinder can explode if the locks are not well keyed after using it or if it is moved from one place to another.

Using expired or refurbished cylinders can lead to gas leaks, which can cause fires or explosions. From 2019 till 2023, there were reports of at least 70 gas cylinder explosions in Nigeria, leading to several deaths and injuries. These explosions occurred mainly because people were using old, expired, or poorly maintained gas cylinders.

Similarly, in India, there were over 1,000 accidents involving gas cylinders in 2018, resulting in over 200 deaths and several hundred injuries.

Also, in Europe, gas cylinder explosions are also a significant safety issue. For instance, in the United Kingdom, there were over 20,000 LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinder incidents reported between 2001 and 2015, some of which resulted in fatalities.

While it may be tempting to refurbish old gas cylinders to save money, it is important to consider the potential dangers that come with this practice. Nigerians should endeavor to buy new gas cylinders or have their old ones checked by certified professionals to ensure their safety. This will go a long way in preventing disasters and saving lives.

This is why AfriSafe is about raising awareness on safety and promoting a culture of safety in Africa. By educating individuals and organizations on the importance of safety, AfriSafe aims to reduce workplace accidents and create safer environments for everyone.

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