Proper Handling and Storage
of Fuel Oil

Fuel oil refers to a range of liquid fuels that are primarily used for heating boilers and furnaces. The oil used for heating equipment helps to provide heat and power to a variety of facilities, including residential areas, industrial, and commercial buildings, and even power plants. According to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA), which researches, collects, and disseminates information on energy topics, fuel oil is closely related to diesel fuel. Both fuel oil and diesel are petroleum-derived products known as distillates, which is a product obtained from the condensation of vapors during a distillation process.

Because many facilities are dependent on fuel and heating oils to provide energy and heat, these liquids are commonly stored onsite and often in large quantities. When storing and handling fuel oil in your facility, it is important to implement approved storage methods that comply with regulatory requirements and handling equipment designed to keep personnel safe.

Eagle is the industry leader in flammable and combustible liquid safety equipment. To help you find the storage and handling equipment that is right for your facility, here is an overview of the regulations and classifications concerning flammable and combustible liquids and the equipment designed to offer protection and compliance.

Regulations for Storing and Handling Flammable Liquids

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), flammable and combustible liquids must be stored and handled in such a way as to minimize the risk of fire. There are a variety of potential ignition sources in industrial and commercial work areas, including open flames, sparks created by tools and metal shavings from welding operations.

OSHA general industry standard 1910.106(a)(29) and construction industry standard 1926.152(a)(1) requires that facilities take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable and combustible liquids. Eagle safety cans and safety cabinets are uniquely designed to satisfy OSHA regulations and NFPA code 30 requirements. By storing combustible and flammable liquids in approved containers, facilities can minimize the risk to personnel and property and achieve regulatory compliance.

Classification of Flammable Liquids

There are three classes of flammable and combustible liquids according to the NFPA. A flammable liquid is defined as any liquid with a flashpoint—the lowest temperature that produces vapors—of below 100°F (38°C) and a vapor pressure no greater than 100 °F (38°C). A combustible liquid is any liquid with a flashpoint that is higher than 100 °F (38°C).

Class I technically refers to flammable liquids, while Classes II and III refer to combustible liquids. According to OSHA general industry standard 1910.106(d)(3)(i) and construction industry standard 1926.152(b)(3), no more than 60 gallons of a flammable liquid may be stored in a single safety cabinet, and no more than three safety cabinets can be housed in any facility. Commercial fuel and heating oils are typically considered a Class IIIA or IIIB combustible liquid because—in general—they have a flashpoint greater than 140°F (60°C) . Please review Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties of your Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for exact flashpoints of your chosen fuel products. 

Fuel Oil Storage and Handling Solutions

Flammable Liquids Safety Cabinets

Flammable liquid safety cabinets from Eagle feature an 18-gauge thick, welded steel construction that will protect flammable and combustible materials from ignition sources. Safety cabinets are available with self-latching doors that are designed to secure contents for maximum storage protection in the event of a fire. Cabinets with manual-close doors open to a full 180 degrees and self-latch when pushed closed. Most flammable liquids cabinets are FM approved and include a ten-year warranty, which ensures they meet the highest standards in safety and loss prevention.

Type 1 Safety Cans

Type I safety cans from Eagle feature a single opening for filling and pouring liquids. These cans are constructed of 24-gauge hot-dipped galvanized steel with an environmentally sustainable baked-on powder coat finish for maximum durability and chemical resistance. The spring-closing lid and neoprene gasket on these cans enables them to automatically vent at five psi of internal pressure. Eagle Type I safety cans are the only safety cans on the market that feature a deep-drawn, seamless quality construction.

The flame arresters of the Type I can are designed to offer flashback protection, and the optional funnel makes it easy to pour liquid into smaller openings. For fuel-oil storage, green FM-approved safety cans can be used to quickly identify fuel and heating oils in industrial and commercial facilities.

Type 2 Safety Cans

Type II safety cans offer all the features of the Type I safety can with the added convenience of an actuated pouring valve for more controlled pouring. Type II safety cans feature two openings: one for filling and the other for dispensing. This design provides users with a better, safer, and more controlled pour. The green Type II safety can is ideal for storing fuel and heating oils.

Find the Storage and Handling Equipment that is Right for You

Eagle is the industry leader in flammable and combustible liquid storage and handling products. We supply facilities worldwide with the equipment they need to store dangerous materials and meet regulatory compliance safely. Eagle's line of metal safety cans and flammable liquid safety cabinets offer solutions for a variety of applications. In addition to providing regulatory compliance, Eagle's safety cans and cabinets are designed to keep your personnel and facilities safe, secure, and protected.

Whether you are looking for a safety can or flammable liquids safety cabinet, Eagle has the equipment you need to store a range of potentially flammable and combustible materials safely. Take a look at our extensive line of flammable and combustible liquids storage and handling products and find the solution that is best suited to your needs.

This guide for the proper storage and handling of fuel oil from Eagle is intended for reference only. It is not a substitute for the user clearly understanding the nature and proper application of flammable liquids and the laws regulating their use.

How to Properly Store Different Types of Flammable Liquids