Working in or around storage tanks is an extremely hazardous work environment. Above ground storage tanks may contain crude oil, liquid hydrocarbons, petroleum products or other hazardous gases. Potential hazards include fire and explosion, oxygen deficiency, and exposure to toxic substances.
Recently OSHA linked fatalities in Oil and Gas tank gauging and transfer to increased exposure to benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. Employers/Operators need to evaluate each tank/location for potential hydrocarbon releases and should also provide a list of other hydrocarbons that may be present. Light hydrocarbons like propane, methane, butane and pentane that are linked to causing the high levels of flammable gases and creating oxygen deficiency, require specialized monitoring and a specific procedure to prevent the compounds from being lost during the collection process.
Topics of discussion include:
Requiring each employee to have a properly calibrated 4 gas meter
Training on proper maintenance and calibration of the 4 gas meter
Safety policies and procedures to follow when in presence of hazardous gasses
Job evaluation descriptions to ensure each employee can properly perform his/her duties
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