Toolbox Talk: Gasoline

By Published On: May 17, 2022

We all know gasoline is the liquid fuel that runs our cars and most other motors. It is a pale brown or pink color, and made from processed crude oil. It is highly flammable, and it evaporates very easily making it explosive and very dangerous.

Gasoline is a manufactured to be used as a motor fuel, and it is very predictable when used correctly. When gas is used or stored incorrectly, it can lead to disastrous outcomes.

Facts about Gasoline

  • Gasoline doesn’t burn, the vapors do. Store gasoline in a container with a self closing lid to prevent vapors from escaping.
  • Gasoline starts to evaporate at -45f. Warmer temperatures allow it to evaporate faster releasing more vapors.
  • Vapors are heavier than air so they will settle in low areas. Be aware of pilot flames where you are storing gas containers
  • Gasoline is an eye and skin irritant as well, avoid storing gas inside buildings, closed trailers, and construction site boxes.

What are the Health Effects?

What makes gasoline dangerous to human contact is the 150 different hydrocarbons. Carbon containing chemicals like butane, pentane, isopentane and BTEX compounds (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylenes).

  • Swallowing small amounts of gasoline: mouth/throat/stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Skin Contact: rashes, redness, and swelling.
  • Exposure to large amounts of gasoline can lead to coma or death.
  • Long Term exposure to BTEX chemicals are known to cause cancer

Things you should NEVER do with Gasoline

  • Never clean your hands, tools, or equipment with gas
  • Never start a fire with gas
  • Never refuel a running machine
  • Never store gas in anything other than a proper safety-approved container. Make sure it is the correct color, with a self-closing lid.
    • Gasoline – Red
    • Diesel – Yellow
    • Kerosene – Blue or Clear
    • Oil – Green

Gasoline is highly flammable, it only takes a spark to ignite the vapors, not just an open flame. Aside from its explosive tendencies, physical contact with gasoline can really hurt the human body. It dries out the skin leaving it red and cracked. If it is ingested it often causes immediate vomiting and ultimately can be fatal.

Questions for you

  1. What kind of gas containers are you using?
  2. Have you ever used gasoline to start a fire or clean a greasy tool?


Here are a few articles related to this topic: Carbon Monoxide, Diesel Exhaust 

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