Tank cleaning can be a very hazardous business when not done properly. Working around storage tanks alone could pose several safety risks, so moving around or inside tanks for cleaning can be even more dangerous. It’s precisely why OSHA has certain regulations regarding storage tank cleaning.
OSHA requires that personnel working around the tanks for cleaning be given the proper training to know their way around the tank. Furthermore, they can’t simply proceed to clean the tank — a careful preplanning process is also required, determining who is assigned to do what, the purpose of each action, and most importantly, what to do in emergencies.
Beyond the OSHA regulations, here are also some critical reminders about tank cleaning:
Always wear appropriate clothing
It must be a requirement for all personnel cleaning the tank to be wearing the appropriate PPE. PPEs come in a variety of forms and levels of protection. Plant supervisors must ensure that the personnel is provided the right level of protection depending on what the tank contains and the work that needs to be done. For example, workers may need respiratory protection and full body suits if fumes are involved.
Always have a fire extinguisher or a fire protection protocol in place
OSHA reminds everyone that preparing for the worst is essential in ensuring that any untoward incident is addressed as soon as possible. Many materials stored in tanks are flammable, so it’s crucial to have a fire extinguisher or other similar options during tank cleaning. It’s even more critical to have these on hand when cleaning fuel tanks.
Double or triple-check all settings
It’s not enough to clean the tank — it’s also crucial to check all its settings and connected pipes. Check for pressure, heat levels, oxygen saturation, amount of material contained, and other process-essential settings. Before any cleaning, the tank should be in a state that is safe for personnel to approach and do their work, with no risk of machines starting up or material moving.
Tank cleaning is not just a maintenance job; it’s a major responsibility that requires an entire team to handle and manage. Schedule your tank cleaning regularly and ensure the safety of the entire plant.
Regular maintenance of storage tanks and their adjoining machinery ensures the smooth operation of the entire plant. Visit us today for more tips on keeping your plant running in top shape.