Safe lawn mowing is more than just knowing how to properly use a lawn mower. It also means understanding how to safely use and store the fuel for the mower.
Whether homeowners or hired landscaping services are performing the lawn maintenance, safe use and storage of gas cans are essential to prevent dangerous accidents. By following the important gas can tips listed below, you can prevent accidents and stay safe while mowing the lawn.
Always Use Safety Approved Gas Cans
The most important rule about the use and storage of gas used for small machines like a lawn mower is that it should always be contained in an actual OSHA approved gas can.
Never store gasoline in a plastic milk jug, a bottle, or any other container that presents a number of hazards. Gas cans are specifically designed to withstand the corrosive nature of gasoline, reducing the chance of leaks. They are also manufactured with the proper ventilation, reducing the chance of an explosion due to pressure buildup.
It is important to know that not all fuel containers are created equal. The small red plastic containers are not DOT or OSHA safety approved. In some states, a homeowner may be able to use them to keep small amounts of fuel at home; however, lawn maintenance services cannot ever use these containers.
Landscaping and lawn mowing businesses are required to use OSHA and DOT approved metal cans with flame arrestors, which are important safety features that prevent sparks from igniting the fuel in the container.
Safely Filling And Transporting Gas Cans
Static electricity and pressure buildup are the main dangers associated with filling gas cans. To reduce the chance of a spark due to static buildup, always fill gas cans while they are sitting on the ground, touching the filler nozzle to the container before opening it and to the fill inlet while filling.
This causes any static electricity to discharge into the ground, reducing the chance of a spark. Additionally, never fill these containers over 95 percent full, since fuel expansion can cause a dangerous pressure buildup that could result in an explosion.
Safely Transporting Gas Cans
Whether filled or empty, all fuel containers should be transported away from passengers since both could give off dangerous fumes. The bed of a pickup truck is the most ideal place to transport these containers. If this is not possible, place containers in the trunk or open the windows, then remove them from the vehicle as soon as possible.
Safely Storing Gas Cans
Gas cans must also be stored safely to reduce the risk of fire or explosion. They should never be stored in a vehicle and must be kept at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. The best place to store gas containers is in a metal cabinet designed for storing flammable liquids.
Lawn mowing businesses may be required by law to use these cabinets in some states. In addition, all fuel cans and cabinets should be kept at least 50 feet away from anything that could ignite the gas, including pilot lights and electronic equipment when in use.
Preventing accidents while using and storing gasoline that is used for a lawn mower requires the use of an approved gas can and knowing how to reduce the chance of a fire or explosion. When regularly enforced, these simple safety tips help keep lawn mowing and maintenance safe, without the dangers that can occur when gasoline is improperly handled!