Storage Tank Cleaning Safety

Storage tank cleaning safety is the most important aspect that needs to be considered deeply before doing tank cleaning work. This applies for all storage tanks. In addition, special consideration should be given for tank that is used for storing highly flammable and toxic chemicals.

The following tank cleaning safety tips will help you preventing work accident because of doing this work. Please read those tips carefully and improve your preparation when you find that you have left something.

But, my very first recommendation is to read MSDS or material safety data sheet of chemical contained in the storage tank. Make sure that you have understood precisely about all aspect associated with that chemical.

Here are the tips for tank cleaning safety:

  1. Hazard analysis should be done at the very first stage of tank cleaning work. Eliminate potential hazards you found during the study.
  2. Emergency rescue procedure, team, tools and other resources are already identified and ready.
  3. Safety apparatus for this work is already available, in enough quantity and in good condition.
  4. Remember that tank cleaning is a confined space work. All confined space work requirements apply for this work too.
  5. Before cleaning storage tank ensure that you have understood chemicals hold in it. Read its MSDS thoroughly.
  6. Confirm remaining liquid tank by visual inspection through level gauge. However, please make sure its level gauge is calibrated.
  7. Chemical inside tank is already empty. Drain it out through the lowest valve.
  8. If there is inert gas blanket inserted into the tank for safety, close its supply valve.
  9. Prepare suitable gas detector for investigating atmosphere concentration inside the tank. Don’t forget to make sure the gas detector is calibrated.
  10. Calibrated oxygen detector must be available. It is to prevent oxygen deficiency.
  11. All supply valves should be closed and tag them clearly to ensure people recognize them easily.
  12. Remaining liquid in piping line in most cases is trapped. Drain out the entire chemical. It is to prevent liquid from entering the tank because of valve leak through. Tank should be isolated from all supply and delivery piping.
  13. Sometimes people forget to remove remaining chemical inside level gauge. Drain out all of liquid trapped inside of it.
  14. Vapor removal can be done by vacuum or natural blow out. Consider vapor properties when doing this step.
  15. Opening manhole helps vapor removal process.
  16. Only trained workers are allowed to tank cleaning work.
  17. Make sure that tank vent line is working and it is not blocked by foreign materials. If necessary uninstall filter or wire mesh at the end of vent nozzle.
  18. Safety permit and confined space work permit have to be received prior to start cleaning work.
  19. Conform that all people that will work inside the tank are healthy and in fit condition.
  20. Coordination meeting is very essential. This can prevent you from leaving some items for this work.
  21. Safety talk will remind people about tank cleaning work hazard. Make them aware against what they will do.


In conclusion, tank cleaning is a dangerous work. Provide enough time to make perfect preparation. Otherwise, you will get injured.

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