Danger in a Can: Why Gas Can Safety is Vital to Lawn Care Companies

Everyone appreciates manicured lawns, beautiful gardens and the smell of fresh cut grass in the summer. Not everyone has the time to devote to yard maintenance. Landscaping and lawn care companies provide this valuable service. They use fuel-powered equipment like lawnmowers, chain saws and blowers daily.

But working with gasoline comes with risks of fire and explosion. Improper or unsafe handling of gas cans has caused many incidents, injuries and even fatalities over the years.

On a crisp autumn day in 2007, a run-of-the-mill chore took a tragic turn at a South Carolina gas station. Chad Funchess, the station’s owner and local volunteer firefighter, noticed some trees on the property needed trimmed. He decided to tackle the task himself. He pumped gasoline into a cheap plastic consumer gas can to fill his saw and other equipment. As he poured it into his chainsaw, the can exploded. Funchess suffered burns on 46 percent of his body and spent four months in a coma. He also lost his left arm.

The worst part of this unfortunate experience? It didn’t have to happen. The can had virtually no safety features.

Handling, transporting and storing gasoline is dangerous. Lawn care companies must use metal safety gas cans that meet OSHA and Department of Defense (D.O.T.) requirements. But what does that mean?

What Makes OSHA-Approved Gas Cans Safe?

To meet OSHA requirements, businesses or commercial enterprises should use Type I or Type II safety cans. Three features on an OSHA-approved gas can make them safer than other containers for storing and dispensing gasoline:

  • A spring-loaded cap closes the safety can when not in use.
  • A pressure relief system vents the safety gas can when there is a buildup of pressure. This prevents the gasoline from exploding. In Justrite safety cans, the spring-loaded cap acts as the pressure relief system.
  • A flame arrester screen prevents sources of ignition from reaching the gasoline vapors inside the gas can.

Stainless steel flame arresters in Justrite safety cans are long in length to create a large surface area. This allows full-flow filling and pouring.

What Makes D.O.T. Safety Cans Safe?

Justrite Type II AccuFlow™ D.O.T. Steel Safety Can, 5 Gallon, model 7350130

The D.O.T. and OSHA require Type II D.O.T. safety cans when transporting flammables in commercial vehicles. Justrite supplies D.O.T safety gas cans for transporting gasoline on public roads. They feature a separate opening for filling and dispensing. The dispensing spout has a flexible hose attached for accessing small openings.

D.O.T safety cans have extra features to make them safe for transporting gasoline. A latching mechanism on the fill cap prevents it from opening due to bumps in the road. To prevent the risk of an explosion, a fusible link on the latch will melt in a fire situation. This releases the cap to vent excess pressure.

D.O.T. cans also have a heavy-duty roll-bar construction to protect them from damage when dropped or flung from a vehicle in an accident. It also prevents dangerous fuel spillage.

Handling and Transporting Gasoline – Tips for Using Safety Cans

As Funchess’ accident illustrates, using gasoline for lawn maintenance can be dangerous. Follow these basic safety tips to keep safe:

  1. Strap safety cans tightly during transportation. This prevents them from moving around and lowers the risk of spillage.
  2. Bond the gas can to the receiving vessel through metal to metal contact to prevent static electricity.
  3. Take a safety can out of the vehicle when filling or dispensing.
  4. Never fill a safety can to the brim. Leave 5 percent space to allow room for vapor expansion.
  5. Never store gas cans (full or empty) in a motor vehicle. Rising temperature during the day could cause the gas can to release vapors into the vehicle. It could result in an explosion.

Many landscapers spend more time in their trucks and outside than in their office. At the end of every day, they need to safely store gasoline and fuel containers in a permanent location. Storing safety cans in Justrite flammable liquid storage cabinets will reduce the risk of fire and protect employees.

Order Your Safety Can from Justrite Today

Don’t let your landscaping business become another injury statistic. Keep your employees safe and your landscaping business incident free. Order OSHA approved and D.O.T. approved safety cans from Justrite. Browse our range of safety cans here.