Posted on: March 16, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Fuel and gas suppliers appeal to divers to keep cell phones closed or wrapped up in service stations and operating areas, following blasts and injuries in 2011.

Areas exposed to fuel or gas fumes include propylene oxide handling and storage areas, propane, gas and diesel refueling areas.

Shell Oil Company re-issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile cell phones ignited fumes during fueling operations.

* A cell phone was placed on a car’s trunk lid during fueling, it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

* A self serving client suffered severe burns to the face when fumes ignited as he answered a call while refueling his car.

* A self serving client suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when a phone in his pocket rang while refueling his car.

Mobile phones or two-way radios can ignite fuel, fumes, or gas vapour. Mobile phones that light up when switched on, or when they ring, release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition.

Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boats, motorbikes, recreation vehicles, or using solvents, or in dust clouds.

Dust is explosive

Mobile phones should not be used, locked away, wrapped up, or turned off, before approaching materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, including solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, bakery dust, coal dust.

Vehicle refuelling procedure

Turn off engine.
Turn off, put away, or wrap up cell phone or mobile radio.
Do not smoke.
If leaving vehicle, complete fueling and closing of fuel caps before re-entering.

Static charges spark fires

Vehicles charge drivers with static electricity. Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is raising awareness of fires due to static electricity at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires, most involving self-service fuel clients. Renkes reports:

In 150 cases, almost all involved women.

Almost all cases involved a driver getting back in a vehicle while the nozzle was pumping gas, then going back to pull the nozzle out.

Most wore rubber soled shoes.

Most men do not get back into the vehicle until fuelling is done.

Vapour from nozzle and tank is highly explosive.

There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling.

Some fires resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.

Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

If you absolutely have to get into a vehicle while refuelling, get out and close the door while touching a metal component, before you pull the nozzle out.

Young children in a car involved in refueling explosions, are as much at risk as refuellers and drivers, since they may not be rescued before the vehicle is on fire, or heats up to a fatal level.

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