Truck Load Out
Tanker Truck Fire
The loading and unloading of tank trucks containing flammable and combustible products presents one of the most serious fire and explosion risks for production and disposal site operations. A study conducted by the API in 1967 identified static discharges as responsible for over 60 accidents in tank truck loading operations. The most common interface for the charging of non-conductive and semi-conductive product is contact with metal plant equipment, including pipes, filters, pumps, and valves. If a container like a tank trunk is not properly grounded, it will become dangerously charged when an electrostatically charged liquid is deposited into it.
Static discharge occurs in tank truck transfer operations when other conductive objects, such as the operator, come into close proximity with a charged container. The charges on the tank truck’s container attract opposite charges to the surface of the object and rapidly create an electric field between their respective surfaces. The strength of this electric field can causes the “breakdown” of the air space between the container and the object, leading to static discharge. If a combustible atmosphere is present in this space, there is a high risk of ignition.