Gasoline is a dangerous product that can hurt you in different ways. Aside from hurting your wallet (because fuel is never cheap), it can also harm your health and/or burn your house if you’re not careful.
Does your workplace have equipment of vehicles that should be fueled onsite? Do you store gasoline in your home for your car or generator? If so, check out these helpful gasoline safety tips when storing and handling fuel.
When storing fuel at home
Gasoline can be hazardous if not stored carefully and properly. Check out these helpful guidelines for storage:
- Use an appropriate container – Fuel must be stored in an approved container, such as a fuel can or tank. Never use glass or plastic bottles for fuel storage. Make sure it’s tightly sealed to prevent spills.
- Store in a cool, well-ventilated space – Store fuel in a cool, well-ventilated area, like a shed or a garage. Make sure it’s (at least) 50ft away from pilot lights, potential heat sources, like the sun, furnace, or space heater, as well as sources of ignition. Never store gas cans inside your car.
- Do not store more than what’s required – Store only the minimum amount of gasoline needed, which is usually gallons or less. Make sure not to overfill the container.
- Limit your exposure to fuel – Gasoline is a major health hazard. Avoid making prolonged skin contact and breathing in vapors or fumes. In case of contact, wash your skin thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water. Get rid of any clothing that came in contact with fuel. Never siphon gasoline by mouth. If the gasoline ingested, don’t attempt to induce vomiting – get medical help as soon as possible.
When receiving fuel from delivery trucks
When your home or workplace is receiving diesel fuel delivery, keep the following in mind.
- Make sure no one’s smoking or cooking BBQs – It’s a no-brainer. Never allow smoking, flames, sparks, and other heat sources near the fuel truck and handling area. Take note that gas vapors are heavier than air, and it may drift down from the source and ignite.
- Position the truck properly – Make sure to position the fuel truck away from other vehicles to avoid interfering with their movements. Have the driver of the logistics company stay near the flow valve while the gasoline is flowing into the storage tank just in case there’ll be a need for emergency shut-off.
- Check the tanks – Check the tank levels before receiving the commercial delivery to ensure the quantity needed.
- Keep caps closed – When you’re not filling and gauging, keep fuel caps closed to avoid releasing of fuel vapors.
- Prepare a spill kit – In the event of spills, have a spill kit ready. Use absorbent materials to clean up the spill and prevent it from spreading.
When fueling vehicles and equipment
Next to making sure the engine is turned off when fueling, there are other things to take note of when fueling vehicles and equipment.
- Read the manual – Refer to the operating manual of equipment and vehicles for special fueling instructions. Understand how to operate emergency fuel cutoffs. You should also know how to operate your fire extinguishers.
- Check for any kinks in the fuel hose – Remove any twists and small loops in the fuel delivery hose. These tangles can cause the hose to drop or catch on bumpers as cars move around the pump islands.
- Fill tanks slowly and surely – Don’t rush – insert the delivery hose nozzle firmly into the fill pipe. Fill it slowly to prevent spilling, over-filling, and making contact with the hot engine. Maintain contact with the tank while fueling to avoid static electricity sparking.
When filling portable containers
Do you have portable containers to refill yourself? Keep the following tips in mind.
- Shut off sources of ignition – Make sure all ignition sources are off when filling portable containers. That includes engines, lawnmowers, and heaters. Make sure to stay away from direct sunlight.
- Put it on the ground – Place the container on the ground and fill it up at a slow pace to avoid spilling and overfilling containers. Leave a small 5% extra space for expansion.
- Acknowledge the signs you need medical attention – Gasoline can be life-threatening when it gets spilled onto the skin, inhaled, or ingested. While apparent injuries like burns are easy to spot and treat, some major health hazards often go unnoticed – like overexposure to gas vapors. Symptoms include respiratory problems, like breathing difficulties, coughing, dizziness, irritation or burning eyes, weakness and numbness, burning sensation, nausea, and rapid heartbeat.
If someone experiences any of these symptoms, he or she should get out of the site and seek fresh air immediately. If symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for Refuelling Solutions, a fuel management company, offering small and large scale diesel fuel delivery, logistics, information, and analysis to keep their client’s business moving. Writing about business and logistics is her cup of tea.