Improper storage can be dangerous
Another danger associated with generators has more to do with the fuel used to run them that with the generator itself. Where the fuel is stored can bring operators into harm’s way.
Flammable liquids should be handled and stored according to OSHA’s 29 CFR 1926.152 standard. This includes common sense ideas like not storing fuel indoors and storing fuel in properly labeled containers away from the generator and any other heat source. The heat from the generator can cause fuel vapors to ignite even in a sealed container. This is important information for both your customers and your business.
More safety considerations
For those working near a generator, the noise level can be high enough to warrant hearing protection. Check the owner’s manual and manufacturer’s specifications to help determine if your model requires hearing protection. Keep in mind that offering customers hearing protection when it might not be strictly required will not put anyone in danger and might help to protect your customers in the long run. Customers should also be offered all types of personal protection equipment (PPE) like safety glasses, non-conductive gloves and shoes. Remind them to remove jewelry and wear tight-fitting clothing.
Post OSHA electrical safety Quick Cards and Fact Sheets at your rental counter as reminders. You can download them for free at: www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html
Also, explain to employees and customers they should not lean on generators or place objects on or against them. When possible, only one hand should be in contact with a generator. Make use of meter probe holders and insulated tools.
While some generators are meant to be portable, they can still weigh several hundred pounds, so care should be taken during transport. Be sure to check local vehicle speed limits when towing and never drive faster than is safe, no matter what the speed limit is. Tell customers to use chock blocks when the unit is not connected to the tow vehicle.
Also, be aware of moving and hot parts. Don’t put anything, including appendages, near the moving or hot parts of a generator or a compressor. Some models have a voltage selector switch on the inside of the machine so operators can’t change it while the unit is running.
Generators are an important tool to help your customers get their job done, and their use doesn’t have to be a hazard to operators. If a generator is treated with the respect that is typically given to utility-supplied electricity, the injuries to operators can be kept to a minimum.