Employers have a responsibility to train workers on safe fueling procedures. Landscaping crews need to add volatile fuel to their vehicles and equipment and if not handled properly, can result in injury or death. In addition, liquid fuels release flammable vapors and can reach ignition sources that are not near the fuel tank or container.
Safe Fueling and Environmental Requirements:
- When using a pump, always identify the emergency shutoff prior to operation.
- Keep all ignition sources away from the fuel. This includes cell phones, personal electronic devices, matches and lighters.
- For stationary fuel tanks, the employer must ensure the tank is bonded to the ground by driving a metal connecting rod at least 2 feet into the ground and making sure there is a connection between the rod and the tank, preferably by a copper wire. This will reduce the static build up in the tank.
- When fuel is pumped, static electricity is generated. You must ensure that static electricity is dissipated by grounding the pump from the container and bonding he receiving container to the pumping container.
- Petroleum products in liquid or vapor form can act as a carcinogen or poison or as an asphyxiant, anesthetic or irritant. Due to the adverse reactions of petroleum on the body, it’s important to use the prescribed personal protective equipment for safe fueling.
- Do not inhale petroleum vapors.
- Keep liquid petroleum off the skin and out of eyes. If it gets on your skin, wash immediately. If it gets into your eyes, flush with water and seek medical attention.
Fire requires fuel, heat and oxygen to keep burning. By removing any of these elements the fire will extinguish. Control fuel by shutting off pumps and/or closing valves. Control heat (if you are trained to do so) with water in the form of stream, spray or fog. Control oxygen by smothering the fire. Using safe fueling procedures should avoid any fire hazards.
For more information go to the OSHA website: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/landscaping/segments.html. or https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/landscaping/safetyprograms.html.
The Flanders Group has training resources on fire safety and a wide variety of other topics for our clients. We also provide an on-line portal for all your Health, Safety and HR needs as part of your insurance program. Call us today at 800-462-6435 for more information.
Executive Vice President