Safety While Refueling Vehicles & Equipment

Refueling is an event at any jobsite and it happens so frequently that we don’t always stop to think of the dangers. When we are doing something as ordinary and simple as refueling we need to be especially mindful of the need to act safely.

Gasoline is Dangerous

  • Gasoline and fuel oils are designed to cause an explosion, preferably in the engine
  • Fuel Spills can be dangerous, in addition to being an environmental issue
  • Fuel fumes can cause nausea

Refuel Safely

  • Always concentrate on the task at hand
  • NEVER smoke while refueling
  • Don’t refuel near any open flames
  • Always turn off the engine
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is within reach
  • Be sure to check the wheels if you feel the equipment may roll
  • Don’t overfill the fuel tank
  • On hot days allow for the fuel to expand

Refueling Areas

  • Be sure the area is clearly marked
  • Always clean up all spills as quickly as possible
  • Keep an extinguisher close
  • Make sure that all garbage is picked up and that equipment can easily enter and leave the area

Always remember that when you are refueling you’re dealing with flammable liquids which form vapors that can easily catch fire or explode. The golden rule is: NEVER Smoke Around Flammable Liquids, put all smoking materials out well in advance of any refueling and remind co-workers to do the same. The second rule to remember is to let that small engine cool off before you start the refueling. This is hard to do because the engine always seems to run out of fuel in the middle of what you are trying to get done, but a hot engine and flammables may cause a flash fire or explosion. A few minutes to let the engine cool down would prevent serious injury or even a fatality.

Keep portable fire extinguishers near flammable liquid storage areas. Do not breathe gasoline vapors unnecessarily. Keep containers and fuel tanks at least arm’s length away. If your clothing becomes saturated with gasoline, remove it immediately. Contaminated clothing should be air dried before laundering.