Flammable Liquids and Auto Repair

Large quantities of gasoline and oil make fire and explosion an ever-present danger. In a continuing effort to help our auto repair policyholders avoid injuries and property claims caused by use of flammable liquids, Loss Control brings you the following safety guidelines:

  • Use UL-approved, self-closing metal containers designed to snuff out spontaneous combustion fires. Rags used for wiping are highly susceptible to spontaneous heating and combustion.
  • Never use plastic or glass containers for storage of flammable liquids.
  • Establish smoking controls and post “No Smoking” signs.
  • Heating furnaces should not be located in pits or basements. Gas vapors are heavier than air and sink into any depression. An accumulation of vapors in a depressed area could result in an explosion and fire.
  • Oxygen welding cylinders must be separated at least 20 feet from other fuel-gas cylinders or separated by a noncombustible barrier that is at least 5 feet high with a fire resistance rating of at least one half-hour (e.g., a thick metal barrier).
  • Do not store flammable liquids near exits, stairways, aisles or areas normally used as exits.
  • To control vapors, drain gasoline into a specially designed tank cart with a transfer pump.
  • Always drain gas into closed containers that are grounded to the vehicle.
  • Prior to pouring, bond containers with a wire clip to prevent static electricity from causing sparks.
  • Static electricity builds up when flammable liquids are transferred from one container to another.
  • Keep quantities of above-ground bulk oils and greases to a minimum. When transferring oils to small containers, use Underwriter Laboratories, Inc. (UL)-approved pumps instead of gravity discharge.
  • Store 55-gallon drums of combustible and flammable liquids in liquid-tight secondary containment dikes to catch leaks and control spills. These dikes have raised platforms that allow spills to drain into a catch basin below.
  • Use UL-approved containers (i.e., ones having a spring-loaded, self-closing lid, a spout cover and a flame arrest, and are designed to relieve internal pressure when subject to fire) for small quantities of flammable liquids. Quantities should not exceed the needed supply for one day or one work shift.
  • Use UL-approved gas pumps equipped with emergency shutoffs.
  • Barricade pump stations to prevent collision damage. If propane gas is sold, barricade all propane tanks.

Following these guidelines helps you protect your business from the unexpected. For more information about American Family Insurance’s Safety Consulting Services, visit our Loss Control Resource Center.

DISCLAIMER — The recommendations printed here follow generally accepted safety standards. Compliance with these recommendations does not guarantee that you will be in conformance with any building code, or federal, state or local regulations regarding safety or fire. Compliance does not ensure the absolute safety of you, your operations or place of business.

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Related Topics: Employee Safety , Auto Fleet Safety , Protecting Your Business