Today’s toolbox talk will delve into a critical aspect of fuel safety on construction sites. Fuels encompass substances that, upon combustion, emit thermal or chemical energy. This energy is essential for executing a diverse array of tasks. It is harnessed either in its natural state or converted into a usable form of energy through machinery.
- Gasoline vapours are prone to igniting at a surface temperature of -43 degrees Celsius.
- Vapours can traverse considerable distances and accumulate in low-lying areas.
- Often unnoticed, health hazards are associated with inhaling vapours or absorbing the liquid through the skin. Inhaling gasoline vapours can result in central nervous system depression, akin to the effects of alcohol intoxication.
- Its ability to act as a solvent on the skin can lead to contact dermatitis.
- If spilt into waterways or near them, significant groundwater pollution can transpire.
Gasoline will float on the water’s surface; hence, water is ineffective as a fire-fighting agent as it would disperse the burning gasoline rather than smother it. Use fuel exclusively as a motor fuel or a mixture for firefighting drip torches. Its utilisation as a cleaning solvent is excessively hazardous.
Sources of vapour ignition:
- Strictly no smoking!
- Prevent the buildup of static electricity. Always connect portable containers to supply drums/tanks using a bonding wire during refilling. Before pouring or pumping gasoline, touch the dispensing hose of the safety container to the fuel tank being filled.
- Avoid refuelling equipment while it’s operational. Turn off the engine and allow hot metal surfaces to cool before touching them.
Additional Safety Recommendations:
- Maintain portable fire extinguishers near flammable liquid storage zones and equipment refuelling sites. In plantations, a Multi-Purpose Dry Chemical fire extinguisher is most practical, positioned in areas familiar to everyone.
- Minimize unnecessary exposure to fuel vapours. Maintain containers and fuel tanks at an arm’s length distance.
- Utilise solvent-resistant gloves. In case of skin contact with fuel, cleanse the area using mild soap and clean water.
- If clothing becomes saturated with fuel, remove it promptly and allow contaminated clothing to air-dry before laundering.
- Never transport fuel in an unmarked container to prevent confusion with consumable liquids.
- In a substantial spill, involving the Oil Spill Response Unit for appropriate treatment is imperative.
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