Tanks that hold water, oil, chemicals, or other substances need regular cleaning to ensure the interiors of the tanks do not develop mold, corrosion, or buildup that affects storage capacity. However, cleaning tanks that sit outside has to be done with extra care because of environmental factors that can make cleaning the tank, at best, somewhat unhealthy and, at worst, downright dangerous.
Excessive heat and cold are always a concern for people working outdoors. Frostbite and heat stroke are serious conditions, and even more minor numbness or heat illness can stall a crew for a few hours. Protective gear (winter clothing, portable tents to provide shade, and so on) works to a point, but if the temperature is going to be too extreme, your workers should not be near the tank except to handle emergencies. Note that some protective gear, like very thick winter gloves, can make working with the tank and cleaning solution too difficult because of a lack of dexterity.
Tank cleaning must be scheduled at a time when lightning storms are nowhere near the facility. Remember that you don't have to have a storm overhead to be at risk of a lightning strike, especially when working with a metal structure or with water. For outside tanks, always check the weather report for the week. If lightning may make an appearance, reschedule the cleaning.
Even if no lightning is present or forecasted, rain itself can be an issue because containment structures often trap rainwater. This rainwater can become contaminated if the tank has a leak or if other pollutants have washed into the containment area. Given that many times the only way to reach the tank is to walk through the containment area, pools of rainwater must be treated as a risk to workers. Wait for the rain to end and drain clean water out before entering the containment structure; if the water is contaminated, contact a hazardous waste company.
If anything, the abundance of potential problems caused by nature is a sign that cleaning tanks shouldn't be put off if at all possible. Instead of waiting until the tank is in desperate need of cleaning, try to arrange for cleaning on a regular basis so that you have some breathing room if the weather turns bad. This will allow you to still clean the tank before it gets too dirty while not putting your workers at risk.
For more information and help with tank cleaning, contact a professional cleaning company, such as Steel View.