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Fuel Can Safety

Bruce Smith July 13, 2012


Staying one step ahead of OSHA; the best practices for safely transporting gasoline


By Tim Walton 

Gas cans. Every contractor and landscaper has them in their truck, on the trailer or at the shop. You fill ‘em up, toss them in and go.

But I bet you have never given much thought to which portable gas cans are being used for your landscaping or construction business.

You should. There are actually a few government entities that are interested in which gas cans you use and how you transport them.

Their interests vary from saving the environment to preventing you from packing around a veritable bomb.

Not using the proper gas cans can be a costly mistake both physically and financially.

Here’s what we figured out that will hopefully give you some insight into staying safe and legal, or should we say, citation free.


Here’s the short take on the legal aspect. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that a gas can be a closed container that with a maximum capacity of 5 gallons.

The can must have a flash-arresting screen and a spring-closing lid, and be able to safely relieve internal pressure. “Safety cans,” which meet OSHA requirements, are exempt from most states’ spill-proof container regulations.

A legal fuel can must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as United Laboratory (UL), to satisfy OSHA requirements. Interestingly, flash-arresting screens are not included in the UL listing. (Note: being “UL Classified” is not the same as “UL Listed.”)

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