Gas and Petrol explosions in the country have been caused by lack of safe handling and safety precautions by regulators,fire station managers and individual users of the petrol and gas stations. Petrol gives off highly flammable vapour even at very low temperatures. Because of the flammability of petrol vapours, service stations carry a risk of fire or explosion not common to other types of retail outlets. Ignition of petrol vapours can happen if vapour comes into contact with a heat source capable of igniting it. An ignition spark might come from an electrical switch, a cigarette or food vendors using naked fire for heating.
In order to prevent the risk of ignition, the service station must be zoned and protected from activities as such on its boundaries and within on the basis of the probability of an explosive vapour mixture forming
Most of these explosions have been known to occur during the delivery and supply form tankers to the fuel stations. Are there local regulations controlling supply and delivery of fuel to these stations. My observations are that these deliveries are not properly monitored by Safety technicians but the fuel station workers and tanker drivers.
Another aspect of neglect is the environmental concern during delivery. If released into the environment, petrol and diesel pollute the soil and water supplies. Whenever petrol escapes from an underground storage tank or pipelines, it can travel significant distances. Petrol vapours can find their way into basements of buildings and public drains with serious consequences should the vapours come into contact with an ignition source. The level of risk associated with fuel leakage means early detection of leaks is essential. Immediate corrective action must be taken when leaks are detected. Therefore there is need for consistent and accurate monitoring of fuel delivered, stored and dispensed at any service station in order to detect leaks from each underground tank and connected pipeline.
A major cause of these explosions is neglect of basic safety rules such as
- Turn off your vehicle engine. Put your vehicle in park and/or set the emergency brake. Disable or turn off any auxiliary sources of ignition such as a camper or trailer heater, cooking units, or pilot lights.
- Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while refueling at the pump or when using gasoline anywhere else.
- Use only the refueling latch provided on the gasoline dispenser nozzle. Never jam the refueling latch on the nozzle open.
- Do not re-enter your vehicle during refueling. If you cannot avoid re-entering your vehicle, discharge any static build-up BEFORE reaching for the nozzle by touching something metal with a bare hand — such as the vehicle door — away from the nozzle.)
- In the unlikely event a static-caused fire occurs when refueling, leave the nozzle in the fill pipe and back away from the vehicle. Notify the station attendant immediately.