Aerosol can safety


23 August 2016

Three volunteers working at a community sausage sizzle received flash burns to their upper bodies when an aerosol can of cooking oil exploded.

One of the volunteers also received bruising when the can was propelled towards him, striking him in the stomach.

Contributing factors

At the time of the incident, the volunteers were cooking sausages on an outside stainless steel LPG gas BBQ unit. The aerosol can was placed on the BBQ work bench next to the lit gas burners.

It is believed that the heat from the BBQ caused the contents to expand until the can could not withstand the internal pressure.

The top of the aerosol can blew out, causing the contents to be released into the atmosphere.

The propellant inside the can (17 per cent propane and 83 per cent butane) was ignited by the naked flame resulting in an explosion.

There have been previously reported incidences of aerosol cans containing cooking oil and fly spray exploding in kitchens when placed near heat sources.

Action required

The following points should be kept in mind when handling aerosol cans:

  • Propellants in aerosol cans are mostly hydrocarbons stored under pressure in a gaseous state
  • Hydrocarbons are flammable and should be kept away from extreme heat and ignition sources
  • Do not place aerosol cans next to heat sources or in hot areas in kitchens, such as next to lit gas burners, close to electric stoves or on top of a range hood
  • Do not place aerosol cans in direct sunlight
  • Do not use aerosol cans near naked flames or ignition sources
  • Read the safety information on the aerosol can before use and storage.

Photo of aerosol can following safety incident

Further information

For further information contact WorkSafe ACT on 13 22 81 or email

This Alert contains information emerging during an investigation by WorkSafe ACT into the mentioned incident at the date of this report. The information contained in this report does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of WorkSafe’s views or proposed actions with respect to this incident. WorkSafe ACT does not warrant the information in this report is complete or up-to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report, or its use.

On this page