While fuel is an essential resource for many industries, it’s also a highly-dangerous and flammable material – one that should be handled with the utmost care. If your business stores fuel on-site or requires your team to transport or handle fuel regularly, you need to take certain precautions.
In this article, Northern Tank Store discusses the various ways you can ensure the safety of your team when it comes to the proper fuel handling and using efficient fuel storage solutions in the workplace.
What are some of the risks and dangers involved in handling fuel in the workplace?
There are several health and safety risks associated with fuel handling in the workplace. It’s crucial that every employee is aware of the risks and dangers involved and what to do in an emergency. Employees should be properly trained and know what they should do in certain situations. These are some of the most common risks when handling fuel at work:
Fuel is highly flammable and can ignite at room temperature. You need to keep it away from open flames, static discharge, sparks, and other possible forms of ignition. Furthermore, since fuel is an oil-based liquid, there is a chance that the fire can be spread instead of extinguished when trying to put it out with water. Instead, you need a carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, or foam extinguisher to put out a fuel fire.
Risk of explosions
While spilled fuel poses a risk of fire, contained fuel poses a risk of explosion. If your fuel is in a storage container and happens to ignite, all that combustion within a confined space can result in a powerful explosion.
Fuels and oils are naturally lubricant so even a small patch of spilled fuel can cause a potential slip risk in the workplace. Spillages must be cleaned up immediately and warning signs set in place to protect everyone working in the area. Using efficient fuel storage solutions to store your fuel can make sure that your fuel is properly and safely contained.
Inhalation and ingestion risks
The fumes from various fuels can cause serious damage if inhaled or ingested. Initial symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion, while prolonged exposure can result in more serious damage. It’s therefore important to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling fuel in the workplace and be careful about working too close with hazardous materials.
Useful tips for fuel handling in the workplace
No matter which type of business you run, there are general rules to follow if your daily work involves handling fuel, such as petrol, diesel, and HVO fuel. Whether you operate a petrol station, maintain farming vehicles, or dispense fuel at transport depots, here are just some precautions to follow when handling fuel in the workplace:
• Do not smoke – This should be obvious, but it’s worth reiterating. While a cigarette is unlikely to ignite the fuel itself, vapours from the fuel are more volatile and can easily catch fire.
• Keep your fuel caps closed – Apart from when you are filling and gauging, you should always keep your fuel canisters tightly sealed, to prevent vapours from escaping. When running a business, it’s important to be safe when storing fuel, therefore it’s crucial to have high-quality fuel storage solutions for your company.
• Have spill kits standing by – Fuel is both a fire hazard and a slipping hazard. If it gets spilled in the workplace, it’s important to clear that up as a matter of urgency. When fuel handling in your place of work you should always have a spill kit nearby in the event of spillage.
Useful tips for proper fuel storage in the workplace
Whether you are using fuel storage for diesel, petrol, or other fuels, it’s important to maintain your fuel tanks and store them both efficiently and correctly. When storing fuel in your workplace, there are certain guidelines you should follow:
• Don’t store more fuel than you need – Unless you are in the fuel-distribution business, there is no sense in keeping more fuel on-site than your company needs. Excess fuel supplies increase the likelihood of an explosive incident in the event of a fire on the premises.
• Store fuel away from any heat sources – especially sparks and open flames.
• Use approved storage containers – Fuel needs to be stored in the right types of fuel storage tanks – ones specially designed for the purpose. It’s important to use commercial and industrial-grade storage containers for safely storing fuel on work premises.
• Use bunded fuel storage tanks where possible. These are tanks that include an outer skin as well as an inner tank to store the fuel. The space between the layers, or the “bund” is able to contain fuel should a spillage occur. The double layer design also offers additional protection against spillage should the tank be punctured or damaged.
For fuel storage solutions and quality spill kits of various sizes and capacities, contact the experts today. Get in touch with Northerntankstore.co.uk to see which fuel tanks and fuel storage solutions you can use for your company.