BBQ Safety

BBQ safety information from Ontario’s Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) regulates the transportation, storage, handling and use of fuels in Ontario such as propane and natural gas used in fuel-burning barbecues. 

But it's not just about TSSA - you have just as important of a role for safeguarding yourself and the safety of that of your family and friends when it comes to fuels. It's about being aware, understanding and practicing safe habits associated with these fuels in and around your home. 

Follow these tips below or check out our BBQ Safety Brochure (pdf) or our animated safety videos on how to operate your fuel-burning barbecue safely.  more tips on how to operate your barbecue safely. 

Clean It, Check It and Test It

At the beginning of your barbecue season:

  • Clean all burner ports and tubes. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to make sure that burner ports are free of rust, dirt, spider webs or other debris.
  • Examine the hose leading from the gas tank to the burner. Replace a cracked or damaged hose.
  • Find by leaks applying Spray a solution made of equal parts water and dish soap on all propane cylinder connections or hoses. If bubbles appear, it could mean gas is leaking out. Tighten the connection or replace damaged parts and retest before using your barbecue.

Light It Right

  • Place your BBQ or grill on a level surface in a well-ventilated area.
  • Make sure there are no combustible materials near your BBQ.
  • Never lean over the grill when you are lighting it.
  • Open the hood and keep it open until the BBQ is lit.
  • Turn the gas release valve on. Turn on the burner controls or heat settings.
  • Take a step back. 
  • Push the igniter button or use a barbecue lighter.
  • If it does not ignite right away, turn the gas off and wait five minutes, keeping the lid open before you try again. 

Stay Safe

  • BBQs are intended to be attended. 
  • Never leave your grill unsupervised while it's in use. 
  • Keep kids and pets away from the BBQ. Position a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency. 
  • Keep any flammable items/liquids away from the BBQ. This includes the use of hand sanitizers. 
  • Never lean over the grill when it's in use. 
  • Don't allow grease to build up on burners, lid or at the base of the BBQ as this could cause a grease fire. 
  • Never throw water on a grease fire - this will only spread the flame. 

Keep It Outdoors

  • Always barbecue outside in a well-ventilated area - barbecues are for outdoor use ONLY. They emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can lead to unconsciousness or death. Visit our Carbon Monoxide Safety page to learn how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Don't position your BBQ too close to wooden or vinyl fences or walls. 
  • Make sure the area behind your BBQ is free of combustible material, since this is where hot gases escape. 
  • Don't use or store propane cylinders inside any structure.

BBQing on a Balcony 

Ontarians living in apartments and condominiums should be aware of additional safety restrictions and potential hazards related to BBQ use on balconies. Barbecues may be prohibited by the municipality or in the Condominium bylaws of your building or prohibited by the building owner or property manager, so be sure you are aware of any restrictions in place for your building. 

IF permitted to BBQ on your balcony:

  • Your balcony must be open, with no enclosures or walls that could restrict airflow.
  • You must keep your propane cylinder on the balcony and connected to your barbecue.
  • Keep your barbecue clear of any combustible material.
  • Make sure the propane cylinder’s relief valve is at least one metre from any building opening below it. Also make sure it is three metres from any building air intake.
  • When transporting a propane cylinder to your apartment or condo, you must use a service elevator. If your building has no service elevators, you may use the passenger elevator, but you must be alone in the elevator. 

It Takes a Pro

  • Direct-connected, natural gas-fired equipment, such as a barbecue, must be installed by a TSSA-registered licensed gas contractor.