If you have a business that stores, dispenses, or transports fuel, you know how important it is to have the proper safety measures in place for fuel storage and to maintain a staff that can follow those measures and abides by all rules and regulations of fuel products on your property.
Let’s look at some of the basics of Safety for Fuel Storage.
Advantages of storing fuel on site
For many kinds of businesses, having fuel storage tanks on their properties is necessary or beneficial to completing their daily tasks on time. For example, if you own a fleet of vehicles, it’s much easier and far less expensive to fill tanks on-site rather than take them to a commercial provider.
Furthermore, fuel storage tanks give you around-the-clock access to fuel should you have a vehicle or machine that runs empty at an inconvenient time. This way, there’s no downtime. That’s a huge money saver.
Choosing the right tank
Safety depends on many factors, including having the right fuel storage tank.
First, consider how much on-site space you have and whether you have a safe spot to install your tank or tanks. It will need to be a reasonable distance from any other buildings on the property, so you’ll need to select an area with plenty of space around it. If you’re considering an underground tank, you’ll need to excavate ample ground space to make room for the tank.
Size and capacity are also a consideration. Don’t purchase a tank that’s bigger than you need. You don’t need something that large if you think it’ll take a year to use up the fuel in a 12,000-gallon tank.
And, of course, the kind of fuel you’ll be storing will determine what you’ll need to purchase. For example, flammable fluids will need a double-walled tank for safety purposes. If you store more than one fuel type, you’ll also need multiple tanks.
Tank safety requirements
Safety is of the utmost importance, no matter what kind of or how much fuel you are storing. You will need to comply with regulatory laws in your area, and you’ll want to hire a licensed, experienced company that knows the ins and outs of fuel storage and the safety measures necessary to keep you, your employees, and other businesses or homes around you from harm.
The provincial level usually regulates the Above-ground tanks. You will need to ensure that you’re adhering to all of those rules, including equipping tanks with alarms in case of a spill or other hazard. That’s why it’s essential to hire a company that knows the rules for installing and maintaining your fuel storage tanks.
Tank maintenance and staff training
Annual inspections of your fuel storage tanks are essential. Not only should a licensed contractor be taking a close look at your tanks once per year, but your staff, supervisor, or whoever is responsible for the tanks should also review safety measures each year. Furthermore, those staff members should re-evaluate their ability to handle their job. They should be re-briefed on safety protocols, advised as to any new protocols or rules, and quizzed on topics such as spill-prevention measures and what to do in an emergency.
In reality, you should train anyone working on your property in risk management related to your on-site fuel storage tanks. For example, ALL employees should know how to turn the tank power on and off. They should also know the basics of spill containment and safe cleanup.
Other safety measures for fuel storage
In addition to proper installation, local regulations, regular maintenance, and staff training, consider these other factors for safety.
- Never fill your tank to capacity. Fluids can expand due to temperature change, so the tank should be at most 90-95 % full.
- Monitor the tank for contamination and check for signs of corrosion regularly.
- Make sure the tank’s support structure remains sound. Safety largely depends on the strength of the support structure on which the tank stands, so call your tank maintenance company if you spy a problem.
- Make sure you clearly mark tanks as to what’s inside of them.
- The area around the tank must be a smoke-free zone. As such, “no smoking” signs should appear on every side of the tank.
- Consider putting a roof structure over your tank to reduce sun and heat exposure.
At Western Oil Services, we’re experts in above-ground and underground tanks. We can help you choose the right tank for your business, install it, and maintain it. We’re well-versed in provincial rules and regulations of fuel storage and are eager to help you find the right tank and place to install it. For more information on our services, contact us at 604-514-1787 or complete the form on our website.