Industrial Storage Tank Maintenance Guide: How to Improve Safety in and Around Industrial Storage Tanks

Industrial storage tanks are essential for worksites in many industries, housing liquid materials like diesel fuel, crude oil, water, sewage and chemicals inside. Whether underground or above-ground, these workhorses must be managed safely and require special industrial storage tank maintenance, including inspections and repairs. This article will discuss how to ensure safety in and around industrial storage tanks, what maintenance is needed to keep them operating effectively and how Dragon Products can help with support that goes far beyond an initial purchase.

Why Industrial Storage Tank Safety Is Important

Potential hazards lurk in and around a fuel storage tank. Whether your tank is old or brand new, there is a risk of asphyxiation, fire, entrapment, falls from ladders, chemical exposure and shock. You need a comprehensive workplace safety program that protects workers' health and complies with OSHA regulations.

Improving Safety Around Industrial Storage Tanks

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to ensure the safety of workers in and around your industrial storage tank. By drawing up a storage tank safety plan and making compliance mandatory, you can avoid workplace injury and improve the effective operation of your worksite. Your safety plan should cover several important topics.

Job Hazard Analysis

A thorough job hazard analysis should be completed when the industrial storage tank arrives on your worksite. For optimal compliance, create a pre-entry checklist that outlines the hazards and tasks to be completed by your workers. If you discover unsafe work conditions, explore alternatives.

fuel storage tank maintenance

Space Assessment

When workers need to enter the industrial storage tank for any reason, they must use the Confined Space Entry Permit system. OSHA created this system to protect workers from injury when performing tasks in confined spaces. OSHA defines a confined space as one that:

  1. "Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and
  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit (for example, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, and pits are spaces that may have limited means of entry.); and
  3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy."

The process takes the workers and their supervisor through an evaluation of the confined space. The Confined Space Entry Permit is used to establish acceptable conditions for entering the industrial storage tank. Each time an employee enters the confined space, an entry permit is completed by an Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) inspector. The contents of the permit are then communicated to all involved. The permit is also posted near the location of the industrial storage tank.

Enhanced Visibility

Storage tanks commonly have limited entry and exit points. You need to ensure these areas are well-lit to avoid potential injury.

Industrial Storage Tank Warning Signs

Make sure you post warning signs around your storage tank to caution anyone working around the tank. Warnings should include anything that could potentially create a liability for your company, such as if your fuel storage tank has hazardous contents, any access restrictions and other communication required to warn unauthorized workers and visitors.

fuel storage tanks with warning signs

Proper Protection

Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as earplugs, respirators, gloves and eye protection, must be accessible and mandated for use by workers accessing the industrial storage tank. As the worksite manager, you're also responsible for ensuring workers use proper fall-protection equipment and the right tools and monitoring equipment.

Emergency Procedures

Work with local responders to formulate a plan for emergencies. If a worker falls or is exposed to harmful chemicals, make sure you have a procedure in place and post this protocol along with contact phone numbers in a prominent place near the storage tank.

Increased & Continuous Safety Training

Safety measures for your industrial storage tank must be reviewed periodically to ensure their relevance, incorporate any new strategies and identify any opportunities for enhancement. It's also a good idea to request workers' feedback on safety issues since they are on the frontlines. Employees must be provided with the duties, essential controls and expectations you've established to ensure their safety.

Tank Maintenance 101

While you may not imagine there's much to do in the way of tank maintenance, there are certain things required to ensure the proper operation of your industrial storage tank. Creating an effective maintenance strategy right from the start helps mitigate any surprises down the road.

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Water vapor and bacteria can result from a lack of tank maintenance. Water vapor condenses, causing microbial growth, which in turn results in microbial contamination in the fuel system. This means you're going to incur hefty repair costs and lose the services of your fuel storage tank while it's being fixed. If you notice a change in fuel color, it's a good indication that your fuel is contaminated. When this happens, you may experience:

  • Reduced combustion efficiency
  • Increased pour and cloud point
  • Unsatisfactory detergency
  • More corrosion in fuel components
  • Clogged fuel filters

Keeping Your Industrial Storage Tank Clean

dragon products fuel storage tank

To avoid contamination of your fuel or crude oil tank, it's best to prevent bacteria from forming in the first place. You can do this by performing the following fuel tank maintenance:

  • Fuel Monitoring: Ensure there is periodic sampling and testing of your fuel.
  • Fuel Storage Maintenance: Minimize exposure to water through fuel tank insulation and routine discharge of water from the bottom of the tank.
  • Cleaning: Remove sludge regularly and perform scheduled cleanings.
  • Fuel Treatment: Use EAP-approved diesel fuel biocides between tank cleanings.

Shop Dragon Products for the Finest Industrial Storage Tanks

Dragon Products manufactures the Industrial storage tanks that customers trust. With a combination of in-house engineering, massive production capacity and a knowledgeable support team, Dragon has the frac tanks for sale that you need for your job site. Constructed of heavy-duty steel and other quality materials, our frac tanks (or "mud tanks") are manufactured in the U.S. Our support team is here for you 24/7, from the time you place your order and for as long as you own your tank. Find the industrial storage tank that works for you and contact us for more information!

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