OIL LABORATORY PROCEDURES AND
HANDLING AND MONITORING
In your career as a GSM, you may be assigned to
your ship's oil laboratory. If you have already been
assigned to the oil lab, you are likely aware of the
Fire and other potential disasters can occur
significance of your role as a middle manager. In the
whenever you must handle, test, transfer, stow, or
oil lab, your most important job will be to maintain
dispose of hazardous solutions and materials. In the
the quality of your ship's fuels, oils, and water
following sections, we will explain the specific safety
supplies. The efficient operation of your ship's
precautions you must take whenever you are handling
engineering equipment and systems directly depends
or monitoring the hazardous solutions and materials you
on the quality of these products.
will have to work with in the oil lab. Because they are
This chapter will discuss the safety precautions
the most dangerous materials on your ship, we will
you will need to know whenever you are handling,
discuss petroleum products first.
testing, stowing, or disposing of hazardous fluids,
chemicals and materials. It will also discuss the proper
way to perform certain sampling and testing
procedures, record the results, and review and
maintain the logs related to the operations of the
As you have been frequently reminded, a shipboard
engineering plant and the oil laboratory. After
fire is the most dangerous mishap you and your
studying the information in this chapter, you should
shipmates can experience. You should consider all
have a good understanding of the inner workings of
petroleum products to be potential fire hazards.
the oil laboratory and the important role it plays in the
In your everyday work in the oil lab, you may be
everyday operations of your ship.
required to handle or monitor petroleum products. Most
petroleum products fall into two basic categories: fuels
and oils. Because they are the most dangerous petroleum
products carried on your ship, we will discuss fuels first.
No matter where you are assigned, the
FUELS. Fuels are the most dangerous products
responsibility for safety goes with you. As a GSM,
aboard ship not only because they ignite easily but also
y o u are already familiar with many of the
because your ship must stow them in such large
job-related safety hazards you can face every day
quantities. To minimize these hazards, the fuels on your
and the safety precautions you must observe.
ship must meet applicable safety precautions for
flammables. While assigned to the oil lab, you must be
Good safety habits are especially important
when you are working in the oil laboratory. On a
aware of these safety precautions for characteristics
day to day basis, you may be required to handle,
such as flash points, vapors, spontaneous ignition
test, transfer, and dispose of the most hazardous
temperatures, wicking, and mist formation. In the
following paragraphs, we will explain the required
and toxic liquids and materials on board your ship.
No matter what you already know or where you are
safety standards for each of these characteristics.
a s s i g n e d , it is vitally important for you to
Flash Points. The flash point of a fuel is the lowest
understand and adopt good safety habits in your
temperature at which the fuel will give off sufficient
daily work routines and responsibilities.
vapor to form a flammable mixture with the air above
The following sections will discuss some of the
the surface of the fuel in its liquid state. In other words,
s a f e t y precautions you should take. These
to be able to form a flammable vapor-air mixture,
precautions are specifically related to the materials
evaporation of the fuel must take place at or above its
and equipment you will handle in your routine
flash point. The required minimum flash point for naval
responsibilities in the oil lab.
distillates (F-76) and JP-5 (F-44) is 140°F (60°C).