Landscaper Gas Safety Tips
A wide range of landscaping equipment (e.g., mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers) is powered by gasoline. That’s why it’s crucial for employees to know how to properly manage this toxic, flammable form of fuel. After all, failure to store, transport or handle gasoline correctly could result in serious safety ramifications. Breathing in gasoline fumes can cause dizziness, nausea and disorientation, while gasoline fires can lead to severe burns and blisters. In the most severe cases, gasoline incidents can even result in death. Nevertheless, these concerns can be addressed with proper safeguards. You can help keep yourself and others safe when working with these landscaper gas safety tips at the job site by following these precautions.
Selecting and Filling Gasoline Cans
First, it’s important to ensure that gasoline is kept in an approved gasoline can. Keeping gasoline in the wrong container increases the risk of the gasoline leaking or exploding from pressure over time.
Be sure to select a gasoline can that is made out of metal, holds 5 gallons or less and has a flame arrestor—which helps prevent sparks from traveling up the gasoline can’s nozzle. In addition, the gasoline can should be properly labeled with its contents. Never place anything other than gasoline in a labeled gasoline can.
Keep in mind that while plastic gasoline cans are common, they aren’t as safe as metal cans. Plastic cans will melt in the event of a fire, allowing the gasoline inside the can to escape and contribute to the spread of the flames.
When it’s time to fill your gasoline can, follow these landscaper gas safety steps:
- Fill the can outdoors, on level ground and away from any ignition sources. Never fill a gasoline can inside a vehicle, as doing so could create a buildup of static electricity and set the gasoline can on fire.
- Touch the can to the gasoline dispenser nozzle before removing the can lid. This will help reduce the risk of a static spark occurring during filling, which could ignite the gasoline in the can.
- Keep the gasoline dispenser nozzle in close contact with the can inlet during filling—this practice will also help lower the risk of a static spark taking place.
- If you spill any gasoline while filling, clean it up immediately. Bring extra work clothing to the job site in case you spill gasoline on yourself and need to change.
- Because gasoline expands, it’s important to never fill the gasoline can above its maximum fill line. An overly full gasoline can is at greater risk of leaking or exploding.
- When you are finished filling, replace the gasoline can lid and tighten it securely.
Transporting Gasoline Cans
When transporting gasoline cans, make sure you do so in a way that limits the spread of toxic gasoline fumes throughout the vehicle. Both full and empty gasoline cans should be placed far away from any passengers and the driver. The safest areas to place gasoline cans are within the vehicle bed or on a roof rack, if applicable. In any scenario, be sure to keep the cans secured in an upright position to avoid spills during transport.
Landscaper Gasoline Safety Tips and The Refueling Process
When refueling equipment with gasoline, follow these precautions:
- Refuel the equipment outdoors, on level ground and away from any ignition sources. Allow the equipment’s engine to cool before you refuel, and loosen the fuel cap slowly to relieve pressure in the tank.
- Remember to touch the gasoline can’s nozzle to the tank before removing the fuel cap to avoid a static spark from igniting the gasoline.
- Keep the gasoline can’s nozzle in close contact with the tank to prevent spills. If you spill any gasoline, clean it up immediately. If you spill gasoline on yourself, change into your spare work clothing.
- Pay close attention when filling the fuel tank—avoid overfilling it. When you are finished filling the tank, replace the fuel cap and tighten it securely.
Storing Gasoline Cans
When you are finished using gasoline, it’s vital to store it safely. Even though landscaping tasks can often require you to move between job sites, be sure to establish a secure location for storing gasoline cans. Although it might be tempting, you should never store gasoline cans—full or empty—in a vehicle. The best place to store gasoline cans is in a flammable liquid storage cabinet. Such a cabinet should be made of nonreactive metal, be able to remain at room temperature and be clearly labeled as a safe gasoline storage area.
Never block a flammable liquid storage cabinet’s doors, and avoid storing any items on top of the cabinet. Keep any sources of ignition and electronics at a safe distance from the cabinet. If you are ever unsure of where to store gasoline cans at work, consult your supervisor.
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