As your NJ Landscaping business heats up we wanted to let you know of a potential problem that could arise as your crews fill up your gas containers before heading out for their daily work. An unusual number of fires have occurred during the filling of portable gasoline containers when the containers are in the back of pick-up trucks that are equipped with plastic bed liners. Incidents of this nature have occurred with both metal and plastic portable containers.
How Does the Bed Liner Cause a Problem?
A bed liner is a polyvinyl plastic lining that fits inside the bed of a pick-up truck to protect the vehicle’s surface from wear and tear. The bed liner provides excellent insulation, preventing static electricity from bleeding off the gasoline container, to the truck body, through the truck tires, and off to the ground. A static charge can accumulate on the gasoline container in either of two ways. First, as the vehicle travels from one place to another, a charge can accumulate from the friction of the can sliding on the pickup bed. Second, when fuel is dispensed into a portable container, static electricity is generated by the flow of fuel through the hose, or by the free fall of fuel into the container.
The bed liner isolates the portable container from the metal body of the pickup truck (through which the static charge would normally be dissipated) thus allowing the charge to build and the container to hold the charge. When the fuel nozzle touches the container, a spark can occur, igniting accumulated gasoline vapors, and causing a fire or explosion.
To Ensure Your Safety When Dispensing Fuel Into Portable Containers
- Dispense fuel only into an approved portable container.
- Remove the approved container from the vehicle and place it on the ground a safe distance away from the vehicle, other customers, and traffic.
- Do not fill a portable container while it is inside a vehicle, in a vehicle’s trunk, in a pick-up bed, or on any other surface other than the ground. This includes pick-up trucks, sports utility trucks, vans, marine crafts, and others.
- Bring the fill nozzle in contact with the inside of the fill opening before operating the nozzle. Maintain contact until the filling operation is complete.
- Never use the latch-open device, equipped on some dispensing nozzles, to fill a portable container.
- Don’t smoke while pumping gasoline.