Gasoline Handling Safety

Gasoline can be used on job-sites for some tools and equipment.  Improper handling of gasoline increases the workers risk for serious injuries and even fatalities.

Gasoline Facts

  • Gasoline does not burn. It is 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 is not necessary to ignite the gasoline vapors.  One spark is all that is needed.
  • 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 gasoline on your clothing, remove your clothing immediately. You could become a human torch.
  • Do not use gasoline to clean tools or parts, or to remove grease from your hands.
  • Gasoline has an auto-ignition temperature of 536 degrees F. Watch for contact with high temperature items like exhausts and welded parts.

Gasoline Storage

Gasoline must be stored in approved, metal containers

As a reference, see WAC 296-24-33009(2) (a). Only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used.  Metal containers and portable tanks meeting the requirements of and containing products authorized by Chapter I, Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations – October 1, 1972, (regulations issued by the hazardous materials regulations board, department of transportation), shall be deemed acceptable.

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. Remember to label your secondary container with a ghs compliant label. 

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Are plastic containers, sold in convenience stores acceptable for gasoline storage on a construction job-site?
  • Can you clean tools with gasoline?