Matthew Didn't Know

It's the Law !!

This page is dedicated to gasoline safety and gasoline use laws.  Yes, there are laws !!  It's part of what Matthew Didn't Know ... but what you NEED to know !!  Most of us have used the term "live and learn" ... use this page to LEARN to LIVE !!

Automatic Closure Spout

An automatic closure spout must automatically return to a closed position when not engaged for pouring. In addition, cans manufactured after the January 1, 2009 compliance date do not have secondary vent holes. These changes lessen chances for spillage.

Child Resistant Cap

In 2008, President Bush signed the Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act, requiring that portable gasoline containers manufactured for sale in the U.S. on or after January 17, 2009 adhere to certain child safety requirements. With that law in effect, gasoline joined charcoal lighter fluid, torch fuel and turpentine on the list of flammable substances whose containers are mandated to have child-resistant closures.

OSHA Approved

According to OSHA, only approved safety cans or Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved containers shall be used for the handling and use of gasoline in quantities of 5 gallons or less. OSHA defines a "safety can" as an approved container holding 5 gallons of gas or less with a spring-closing lid and spout cover, a means to relieve internal pressure and a flash-arresting screen. The spring-closing lid and spout cover is designed to keep liquid and vapor from escaping at ordinary temperatures and to lift slightly when exposed to excessive outside heat. OSHA defines "approved" as a gas can that has been listed or approved by a nationally recognized testing lab such as Factory Mutual Engineering Corp (FM), Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), or federal agencies such as the Bureau of Mines or U.S. Coast Guard. The most common safety can is the short and round red metal can with yellow labeling. Some are now available in high-density polyethylene plastic.

DOT Approved

DOT-approved containers are used more often by the general public. DOT-approved gas cans, or "jerry cans," have a screw-on cap instead of a spring-closing lid, spout cover or flash-arresting screen. They do not meet the "safety can" definition, but OSHA has decided that they pose very little hazard and meet the basic intent of the standard. DOT-approved gas cans will be labeled certified to meet American National Standards Institute and American Society for Testing and Materials standard ANSI/ASTM F852-86. OSHA recently started allowing plastic jerry cans, but most are metal.

Minimal Vapor Release

Standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency require gasoline containers to limit the release of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. According to the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association, a gas can must be a permeation-resistant container that limits hydrocarbon leakage to 0.3 grams per gallon per day. Using a fuel can that limits gasoline vapor emissions contributes less to ground-level ozone (smog).

Label the Can

The Federal Hazardous Substance Act requires certain containers to alert consumers of the possible dangers that the contained product may pose. Accordingly, fuel cans must display proper warning labels to alert consumers of the potential hazards.

Older and Exempt Cans

Although standards are set for the manufacture of new containers, no laws exist preventing the use of old cans. Because of this, retailers who have remaining inventory of non-compliant, older cans may still sell them until they are gone. As of 2010, nothing requires replacement of old cans that may not comply with new industry standards. OSHA-approved metal safety containers, primarily utilized in commercial situations and not classified as portable fuel containers intended for residential use, also escape the new regulations.The regulations also have no bearing on cans for sale outside of the U.S.

Additional Safety Tips

Although not mandated, it's a good idea to adhere to established safety guidelines when dealing with the transportation or storage of a flammable liquid such as gasoline. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you may want to make use of improved gas cans to reduce your exposure to vapors. Exercise care when dispensing gasoline and avoid spills by filling all equipment and vehicles on a hard surface and in a well-ventilated area, away from children and animals. Store gasoline in a cool, dry location. Because of the risk of heat or impact explosion, do not store gasoline in the trunk of a vehicle or in a vehicle itself


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