Citation Details

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Section: 56.4101
Date: 04/24/2014
District: NC
Negligence: Moderate
Injury or Illness: Unlikely
Injury or illness could be expected to be: Lost Workdays or Restricted Only
Significant and Substantial: No

Condition or Practice: The Ford F250 pick-up truck was not equipped with "no smoking or no open flame" signs to warn miners of the potential fire hazard that exists. The bed of the truck contained a 75 gallon dyed diesel fuel dispensing tank. This condition present a fire hazard and exposes miners to smoke inhalation and burn injuries. There was no ignition source or use of open flames in the area at the time of the inspection. The mine operator indicated believing that the tank only needed only the three red flammable liquid DOT placards, but the other fuel dispensing tanks on site had "no smoking/no open flame" signs.

Action to Terminate: The mine operator printed "no smoking, no open flames" on the back of the fuel tank.

Why this concerns you: The regulation cited by the inspector states the following:
56.4101 Warning signs.
Readily visible signs prohibiting smoking and open flames shall be posted where a fire or explosion hazard exists.

Upon inspection of the Production Superintendent’s pickup truck which was the subject of this citation, we noted several DOT required warning signs alerting the operator and all who happen by, that the contents are flammable. (See the attached photographs.) This level of warning is deemed acceptable by our State DOT and presumably all states and federal officials for use in the presence of the public.

In further investigations we found several fuel delivery trucks at gas stations and contract delivery trucks are also marked in this way, not having the words printed “no smoking or open flame” on them but instead they had only the international picture symbols or DOT symbols indicating the type of flammable contents.

Just as a portable fuel can is not required to be marked “No Smoking” but is instead required to be marked with the type of contents, our portable fuel transfer tank on the back of the pickup truck is marked appropriately. Further we contend that diesel fuel properly contained within these portable transfer tanks do not present the same hazards that fixed fuel storage and dispensing stations do because they are in an open air environment and don’t build up flammable or explosive fumes as would be expected at fuel stations and are therefore not required to have the same signage.

Since there is no threat of fire or explosion and this fact is well recognized nationwide, we do not agree with the inspector’s broad interpretation of the above regulation.

Abatement Suggestions From Industry

I would suggest that the operators also have a readily available and identifiable fire extinguisher on the vehicle. We recently received a citation for this at our fueling station as the fire extinguisher was in the storage container directly adjacent to the tanks but not within sight of fuel tanks.
- posted on 10/08/2014

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