Fuel handling and storage is risky in any workplace. It comes with hazards that can not only cause debilitating conditions, but can also prove fatal. To prevent such incidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes special regulations pertaining to fuel tank storage.
Fuels are highly flammable and accidental ignitions or spills are not uncommon. To prevent them, OSHA believes that all fuel should be stored in a responsible manner. Here are some ways how:
- A full tank of fuel should not be placed in areas where workers are present or where they pass through. This includes stairways and exits. This rule prevents workers from brushing past containers which can cause leaks.
- Portable fuel storage tanks should not be stacked on top of one another if they hold more than 30 gallons of fuel or more.
- Containers that have a capacity of 25 gallons or more have to be stored in a custom cabinet that is reinforced with an inch of thick plywood on all sides. The cabinet should also be covered with a fire resistant paint and it should be discarded if the surface is chipped.
- Organizations cannot store more than 2000 cubic feet of petroleum in storage in one building. An external tank should be used to store the excess and it should be at least 20 feet away from all structures in the property. According to this OSHA regulation, this allows the fuel tank to be accessible from all sides and also makes it a buffer between ignition sources.
Approved fuel cans
OSHA mandates that only approved fuel cans should be used to store fuel and other liquids that are flammable in nature. There are ways to determine whether a can is flammable or not.
- These regulations apply to flammable liquids that are at least 5 gallons or less but not to ignitable liquids that are difficult to pour. The only liquids that are an exception to this rule are liquids that are just a few gallons and can be stored in original containers.
- Fuel that exceeds 25 gallons cannot be stored on site unless they can be stored in rooms that are built specifically to contain them.
- An approved can is one that cannot hold more than 5 gallons of flammable liquid fuel. Plus, the cans should also have a flash arresting screen that can stop the fuel from igniting in case it comes in contact with a heat source. The screen can extinguish the flames before it can reach the flammable liquid.
- All approved cans have to be sealed properly and each must have a spring closing lid which can close by itself when released. This way all cans will remain closed after use and prevent a work site from becoming hazardous.
- All approved cans have to have spout covers that can close automatically.
- The entire can has to have a child-resistant cap.
- The can must be designed to prevent vapor from escaping and to reduce pressure.
- Before a portable fuel can is transported, it should be closed shut by a worker.
- All cans should be secured via a platform or boat when it is being moved by a crane or a derrick. This OSHA rule prevents cans from falling and springing leaks that can lead to an explosion.
- All fuel tanks that are attached to generators should be made of metal and should be attached directly to the frame. This will prevent static buildup and prevent the fuel from igniting prematurely.
- All fuel cans that are approved by OSHA are also approved by the Department of Transportation or by an authentic testing facility. This can also include certain federal agencies.
Illinois UST Class C Operator Training
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