Staying Safe Around Fuel Tanks

Petrol and diesel tanks can be extremely hazardous due to the flammable and combustible nature of fuels and the manner in which they’re stored. If you’re around fuel tanks as part of your regular work, you need to understand the potential dangers associated with these tanks and ensure that you always take appropriate safety measures.

This article will go over some of the most crucial tips for staying safe around fuel storage tanks, including maintaining a safe distance, using personal protective equipment (PPE), avoiding smoking or using open flames, implementing proper ventilation and conducting regular inspections. By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and secure environment for yourself, your colleagues and your business.

Maintain a Safe Distance

If you regularly work around petrol and diesel tanks, it’s important to always be mindful of the physical space they occupy. In Australia, the general recommendation for maintaining a physical distance away from fuel storage tanks is a safe distance of at least 50 metres (164 feet). This is to ensure the safety of workers and the public in case of a fire or explosion.

The exact distance may vary depending on the type and size of the fuel storage tank, as well as the specific location and environmental conditions. It’s important to take the time to read and understand the recommendations of the fuel storage tank manufacturer and local regulations to ensure the safety of all individuals in the area.

Fuel storage tanks should also be located in well-ventilated areas to ensure that fuel vapours do not accumulate. And while it should go without saying, it’s critical to keep any ignition sources away from the tanks to prevent fires and combustion incidents.

 Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

When working around petrol and diesel tanks, it’s expected that workers wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as fire-resistant clothing, gloves and eye protection. This will help to protect workers from the harmful effects of fuel spills and fires, but it’s also a matter of compliance, as failure to provide workers with adequate PPE can result in costly fines for project managers and operators or the complete shutdown of a project altogether. It’s also important to ensure that all personnel are trained on how to properly use PPE and understand all safety protocols in case of an emergency.

 Avoid Smoking or Using Open Flames

Smoking or using open flames in the vicinity of petrol or diesel tanks is extremely dangerous, and in some cases, can even constitute a criminal act of negligence or wilful endangerment of others. This includes using lighters, matches and cigarettes, as well as using welding or cutting equipment too close to a fuel source.

Irrespective of experience levels, it’s expected that all personnel working around fuel storage tanks are briefed on the risks associated with smoking or using open flames near fuel sources and understand both the safety and legal implications of violating these safety policies.

 Conduct Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of petrol and diesel tanks are critical to ensure their continued safe operation. Check for any signs of corrosion, leaks or damage, and report any issues immediately.

While it’s important to make sure that all personnel are trained on how to properly inspect any on-site fuel tanks, outsourcing this task to a specialised worksite safety inspector will generally yield more accurate results without disrupting workers or taking their attention away from their tasks.

 Know How to Respond in Case of an Emergency

It’s essential that all personnel know how to respond in case of an emergency, such as a fuel spill or fire. For any construction or personal project that utilises petrol or diesel tanks, you’ll be expected to have an emergency plan in place. You’ll also need to ensure that there are adequate and necessary emergency supplies on hand, such as fire extinguishers and spill containment materials.

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