If your plant maintenance schedule doesn’t include regular storage tank cleaning, it definitely should.

Debris and corrosion-causing contaminants can create a sludge-like material at the bottom or on the sides of dirty tanks. This can result in oxidation, which can reduce storage tank efficiency. Dirty, contaminated tanks also may post increased safety risks to your employees and the environment.

Tank cleanings are often part of regulatory inspection requirements and must be scheduled on a regular basis. How often will depend upon the materials stored in your tanks. It’s critical to make sure that workers who clean your tanks are properly trained and follow proper safety procedures.

Storage tank cleaning requires training and experience, but even with those, it still can be a dangerous task. Here are some steps to take to help make storage tank cleaning safer:

  • Create a plan: During planning sessions, plant managers should assess the risks as well as obtain permits, if needed, and schedule safety training meetings.
  • Train professionals: Cleaning tanks requires industry-specific experience and training. Only employees with the right knowledge and expertise should be allowed to clean storage tanks.
  • Use protective gear & safety equipment: Employees must be properly equipped with the right personal protective equipment to keep them safe. Employees must have the proper safety equipment for handling the holding materials and working with specific tanks before starting the cleaning process. Proper safety equipment includes calibrated gas and oxygen detectors to alert cleaners of oxygen deficiencies. Plant managers should have safety harnesses and emergency kits on hand in case they are needed.
  • Implement safety procedures: Before cleaning, trained personnel must make sure  to properly turn off, open, close or otherwise take care of all valves, manholes and other tank components.

Not cleaning your tanks can result in a standing threat to your employees and facility. However, cleaning tanks without the right safety measures in place can be equally, if not more, dangerous. Plant managers should plan and prepare to mitigate risks by working to ensure that tanks are cleaned by training professionals and with proper safety procedures in place. If you need professional help, hire experts help clean your tanks and keep your facility, employees and environment safe.

Do you need more information about cleaning your storage tanks? KC Supply Co. can answer your questions and help provide you with all the safety equipment you need to clean your storage tanks properly. Visit www.kcsupply.com or call 800.KC.SUPPLY.