The entrance to a tank is formidable. Rather than cleaning their own tanks, businesses and individuals often hire out for regular cleaning. However, OSHA recently dispensed a hefty fine of over $100,000 to an Alabama tank cleaning company due to violations.
Even professionals can make life-threatening mistakes, which confirms the need for regular awareness. Tanks are especially tricky as they involve confined spaces, explosions, oxygen shortages, toxic vapors, environment contaminants, and fire hazards all in one. Here’s some hacks to keep all the individual and collective dread from happening:
- Regularly train and go over standards as outlined by OSHA.
- Test for all atmospheric hazards before and during procedures with inspected equipment.
- Regularly test and monitor equipment.
- Use protective clothing as designated by chemical labeling.
- Use approved, non-hazardous tools.
- Keep a retrieval system such as safety harnesses and first aid kits on standby.
- Confirm that all valves and other tank sections are open or closed according to standards and needs.
Using Procedures Rather than Tanking
It’s easy to slip in standards. Like strolling on black ice, it doesn’t end well. It isn’t outright disregarding procedures as often as it is missing an item in the checklist and developing bad habits.
Not only does following procedures keep you safe, but it prevents a substantial fine and angry people from glaring at you because they are the ones who pay that fine.
Get to Know Your Tank
There are so many different types of tanks and what they can contain, which is why the potential hazard list is so extensive. Know your tank. Know what it carries, how it works, and know how to best ventilate or not ventilate it. This also further determines the procedures and standards.
Don’t Mess with Tanks
Confined space-style tanks are not too different from Indiana Jones’ flying through the tracks-style tanks, in that they are large, explosive, and deadly. They are hollow, but instead of holding visible assassins, they’re holding invisible assassins known as noxious gas.
And yes, the military tank went over a cliff, but you don’t have to. That’s what the harnesses are for. Also, never go bungee-jumping without a bungee.
For more details, check out our confined space training. And remember, good luck, and stay safe!