OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.



June 9, 2000

Mr. Michael Niznik,
Safety Director
CCI Construction Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 8800
Camp Hill, PA 17001

Re: Application of 29 CFR 1926.152 (Flammable and Combustible Liquids) to a 1000 gallon diesel fuel tank

Dear Mr. Niznik:

Thank you for your letter, dated May 10, 1999, in which you ask how the requirements in 29 CFR §§1926.152(c)(1), 1926.152(c)(3), 1926.152(d)(2) and 1926.152(e)(4) for dikes, fire extinguishers and barricades apply to a 1000 gallon diesel fuel tank located on a construction site. We apologize for the long delay in responding to your request.

Question: Are dikes/barricades required for a 1000 gallon, double-walled diesel storage tank?

Answer: No. The §§1926.152(c)(1) and 1926.152(c)(3) referenced in your letter sets out safety requirements for the storage of flammable/combustible liquids in containers of not more than 60 gallons each. This paragraph limits the storage of such containers outside buildings to a maximum of 1,100 gallons "in any one pile or area." Additionally, those storage areas are required to be diked or graded in a manner to divert possible spills away from buildings or other exposures. Neither section applies to your 1,000 gallon storage tank.

Sections 1926.152(c)(4)(i)(ii), 1926.152(c)(5) and 1926.152(c)(7) do apply to your tank. They govern outdoor portable tank storage of the type you describe and address the location of, and separation distance from, other portable tanks, access to permit the approach of fire support apparatus, keeping the storage area free of other combustible material and emergency venting devices.

Location of fire extinguishers

Paragraph 1926.152(d)(2) addresses your second question concerning the required location of a fire extinguisher for flammable liquid storage. Section 1926.155(h) defines a flammable liquid as any liquid having a flash point below 140°F and having a vapor pressure not exceeding 40 pounds per square inch at 100°F. The common grades of diesel fuel have flash points below 140°F; therefore, diesel fuel is considered to be flammable liquid and is subject to this rule.

This paragraph requires that a fire extinguisher be located "...not less than 25 feet, nor more than 75 feet, from any flammable liquid storage area located outside." A fire extinguisher stored 20 feet away from the diesel fuel storage area would not be in compliance with this requirement. The distance range provided in our standard is designed to make sure that a fire extinguisher is neither too far away nor too close to the flammable liquid to be useful and safely accessible in the event of a fire.

Protection of the dispensing unit from damage

Paragraph 1926.152(e)(4) requires that "...dispensing units shall be protected from collision damage." You ask if this would require a dike/barricade for purposes of protecting your tank from collision damage.

The extent of the measures required to meet this requirement depends on the nature of the collision risk. For example, more extensive measures would be required for a tank next to a roadway than for a tank located in an area used only by vehicles approaching the tank for refueling. In the latter case, a curb or other warning device (such as flags or other markers) would be sufficient.

If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction

[Corrected 6/2/2005]