Gasoline is so commonly used and easily obtained that people forget how dangerous it is. Consequently, many persons are killed or injured every year because of not handling gasoline safely. Keep in mind the points we will discuss today, whether you’re using gasoline at home or on the job. Gasoline is manufactured to be used only as a motor fuel. In this way, it can be a useful product. But when used in other ways, it can be deadly.
Have you ever used gasoline to clean your hands or to wipe off a piece of equipment? Have you ever spilled gasoline while fueling an engine? Have you ever started a fire with gasoline or smoked while filling a container? All of us at one time or another have violated these and other safety rules when using this potentially dangerous product.
SOME FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GASOLINE
– Gasoline doesn’t burn. Do you believe that? Well, it’s true. It’s the gasoline vapors that burn. Gasoline evaporates at temperatures as low as 45oF below zero. The higher the temperature, the faster it evaporates, and the heavier the buildup of dangerous vapors.
– Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and will collect at the lowest point in an area, unless there’s adequate air circulation.
– An open flame isn’t necessary to ignite gasoline vapors. One spark is all it takes.
– Gasoline can irritate the skin and cause a rash that can become infected. If you get it on your skin, wash it off with water right away. If you get it on your clothing, take your clothing off immediately. You could become a human torch.
You should have surmised from the above facts that it’s dangerous to use gasoline to clean tools or parts or to remove grease from your hands.
Don’t store gasoline in the wrong kind of a container. Sometimes, glass containers are used to hold this liquid. For example, a man going on a camping trip filled a glass jar with gasoline and put it in the back of the car. As he was driving through the mountains, his car hit a bad bump. The jug broke and the gasoline vapors caught fire. The car burned – along with the driver and his family. Keep gasoline in a safety can such as those listed for this purpose by Underwriters Laboratories. Mark the container with the word “gasoline” so that people will not mistake it for something else.
An empty gas container is more dangerous than a full one. If the lingering vapors inside the can mix with the proper amount of air and are ignited, a violent explosion will result. That’s why it’s so important to thoroughly clean any empty containers previously filled with gasoline before welding or soldering on them.
TRANSFERRING GASOLINE FROM ONE CONTAINER TO ANOTHER
Transfer gasoline from one container to another only in areas free from open flames, sparks, and where there is proper ventilation. Clean up any spills immediately. Static electricity can be generated while pouring gasoline from one container to another. One method to prevent this build-up of static electricity is to keep the two metal containers in contact with one another. Or better yet, connect the containers with a bonding wire until you have finished pouring.
DON’T BE SELFISH
Today you have seen that handling gasoline improperly can be as dangerous as playing Russian roulette or sticking your head into a loaded cannon. Don’t keep the tips you have learned about gasoline to yourself. Pass them on to your family, so they’ll never misuse this dangerous substance found so of ten around the home.
The Material Safety Data Sheet
Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS, if read and followed, are a powerful means of controlling chemical exposures.
MSDS are written by chemical manufacturers for the chemicals they produce or import. The purpose of the MSDS is to communicate information on the recommended safe use and handling procedures for that chemical.
MSDS may look different, yet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all MSDS must provide certain categories of information about the chemical substance or mixture:
- Identification (physical and chemical) Physical and health hazards
- Hazardous ingredients
- Emergency and first aid procedures
- Recommended control measures
- Safe handling precautions
- Date of reparation/revision
- Manufacturer’s name, address and phone number
Your employer is being required to assemble and provide unhindered access to a MSDS collection for all of the chemicals found in your work area. Know where this MSDS collection is located. Read and follow the MSDS recommendations.
What product/chemical is this MSDS for? Hazardous ingredients
How much of this material can I safely be exposed to? How will I know if I am overexposed to this chemical? Emergency and first aid procedures
What first aid steps should I follow? What will happen to me if this chemical …
- is swallowed?
- gets onto my skin?
- is breathed in?
- gets into my eyes?
Recommended control measures:
What type of control measures should I use to protect myself? What should I do if there is a spill or leak?
What are the physical hazards posed by this chemical? If it catches fire, what should I use to put it out?
Are there conditions or materials that this chemical should not come into contact with?
What are the health hazards posed by this chemical? Safe handling precautions
What is the proper way to safely handle this chemical?
Manufacturer’s name address, phone
Who made/imported this chemical?