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Advice on Storing Fuel

Storing petrol or other fuels in a car, workplace or more importantly at home present a potential hazard. This page therefore explains on how to reduce the risks associated with storing fuel.

Petrol and other fuels give off vapour which are extremely flammable and must be treated with the utmost care.

The Law

Storage of fuel at home or the workplace (unless specifically licensed) is restricted by law to either metal containers with a maximum capacity of 10 litres or approved plastic containers of a maximum 5 litres capacity. These containers should be designed for the purpose and must be fitted with a screw cap or closure to prevent leakage of liquid or vapour.

Petrol and diesel fuel should be stored in no more than two 10 litre metal containers or two 5 litre plastic containers. They should be clearly labeled as to their contents.

Petrol filling stations operate under license conditions, which do not allow drivers to dispense fuel into other types of container.

At home, fuel containers must not be stored in living accommodation such as kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms or under staircases. Any storage place should be well away from living areas in case of fire and it should be secured, to protect against the possibility of vandalism or arson.


Health and Safety Precautions

  • No smoking and no naked lights in the vicinity

  • Decant in the open air - not inside the garage

  • Use a pouring spout or funnel; and

  • If clothing is splashed with fuel, change it immediately.

Petroleum vapour can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and exposure to high concentrations, particularly in confined spaces, can cause dizziness and unconsciousness. Most importantly, do not swallow petrol or diesel or attempt to use the mouth to siphon it, under any circumstances. This can result in it entering the lungs or stomach, which can be fatal.


Filling up

Take care when filling your vehicle's fuel tank or appropriate approved container. Spillages or leaks pose a number of hazards, so do not overfill your tank and make sure that the filler cap is securely in place and not leaking. Fuel expands and vapour can build up in hot weather, so avoid filling to the brim. Equally, approved containers should not be overfilled and should be securely fastened during transit to prevent them falling over and leaking.

Spillages on the road surface, particularly of diesel, create slippery conditions that are a major hazard to other road users especially those on two wheels.


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