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Forklift Refuelling Safety – Guide to Refuelling a Forklift Safely

Filed under: Forklift Operators - Safety & Guides

Refuelling may be seen as a simple task, but if not done properly has life threatening consequences. When you are in a rush to get forklifts refuelled and back on the job, safety may not be the number one priority on your mind even though it should be.

REFUELLING

Pre-Refuelling Safety

Before refuelling any forklift, the operator should observe and carry out the following safety precautions:

  • Never refuel while the engine is running (the engine has the potential to ignite the fuel)
  • Ensure you are following safe parking procedures
  • Open flame, smoke and any potential source of ignition are prohibited within 10 meters of any truck being refuelled or recharged 

Refuelling

1. Liquid Propane Gas (LPG)

    • Cylinders permanently mounted on trucks should be fitted or exchanged only at locations designated for that purpose (well ventilated and isolated from all sources of ignition)
    • Only trained and authorised personnel can recharge or exchange LP gas cylinders
    • Ensure that the engine has stopped and the fuel-isolating valve is shut off before attempting to disconnect the cylinder
    • Handle all cylinders and associated plumbing with extreme care. Damage from dropping or abuse could result in a serious fire
    • Ensure that the cylinder is correctly positioned, so that the safety relief valve is facing upwards
    • Chains should not be used to replace straps in the cylinder-clamping device
    • It is advised that leather gloves be worn when changing cylinders to prevent potential injury
    • Flexible hoses on LPG trucks should not protrude beyond the extremities of the truck and are to be protected from abrasion or sharp edges
    • If the fuel system has a leak, report it immediately. Action should be taken to prevent the truck from being used until the leak has been corrected

    Note: LPG trucks should not be refuelled or parked in close proximity to open pits, as there could be a ‘build up’ of vapours in these confined areas.

    2. Diesel or Petrol refuelling

      • Smoking, naked lights or other sources of ignition are prohibited in the designated refuelling area
      • Care should be exercised to avoid spilling petrol or overflowing the tank during refuelling. Replace the cap securely, flush down any spilled fuel and allow sufficient time for that fuel to completely evaporate, before restarting the truck.

      If you would like to learn about our battery charging please refer back to our battery maintenance blog (link). If you have any questions or other safety measures you personally take when dealing with refuelling your forklift, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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      Next entry: Common Forklift Attachments Types: Part 2

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      7 comments

      Based on my own opinion, I think that its great to know more about forklift refueling safety guide to refueling a forklift safely. I know that many forklift owner would make use of this great guide.

      Essie Roberts
      February 15, 2012 - 10:59 pm

      Very useful guideline!! I like the ways and hopefully Forklift refueling staffs need to follow these ways for safety. Thanks

      elektrische zigarette
      June 19, 2012 - 7:44 pm

        it did not answer my question on if refueling has to be done outdoors                      

      james lynch
      April 20, 2017 - 6:37 am

      Hi James,

      Forklifts do not expressly need to be refueled outdoors.   

      Due to the combustible nature of some of the fuel sources such as LPG and diesel it may be recommended to refuel outside.

      This is also beneficial to eliminate any unpleasant chemical fumes.                   

      admin_editor
      May 08, 2017 - 4:29 pm

      I think refueling a diesel forklift with a drum and a funnel, using eye protection is quite safe.  Diesel needs compression to ignite and maybe using a filtered respirator for the fumes ?     

      Johan
      June 24, 2017 - 2:51 am

                             
                            Can the Forklift operator remain seated on the forklift while Forklift is being refueled [gasoline] by a refueling “Tanker” truck?

      Vince
      July 20, 2017 - 12:45 pm

      I am reviewing the practice of using a grounding clamp while refueling a propane tank while it is still mounted on the forklift. Where is the correct location to clamp the grounding clip?
      I have heard “an unpainted, metal surface”. Is there more to know? I have a picture too, as there appear to be many options.                     

      Michelle
      November 16, 2017 - 4:09 am

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