of Safety Engineers Offer Gas Refueling Safety Tips
July 30, 2002
DES PLAINES, Ill., -- Due to recent reports concerning possible
static electricity-related incidents at gas stations, the American
Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is providing safety tips for
the public aimed at reducing their risk when filling up their vehicle.
This year, static electricity has caused a few fires at gas stations
that occur when consumers are filling up, but according to the American
Petroleum Institute (API) and the Petroleum Equipment Institute
(PEI), these cases are very rare. API estimates that each year there
are an average of 11 billion fill-ups and very few fire incidents
involving static electricity.
Static electricity may occur when a person filling their tank leaves
the nozzle, gets back in their vehicle and rubs against the seats.
When they return to the vehicle fill pipe when the refueling is
complete the built up static may discharge at the fill point, causing
a brief flash fire with gasoline refueling vapors.
"There are several ways a person refueling their vehicle can
avoid this from happening," ASSE President, and Houston, TX
resident, Mark Hansen, P.E., C.S.P., says. "For instance, when
you're putting gas in your car you should not get back into the
vehicle because this can cause static electricity. If you must get
back in the car for some reason during the fueling process, you
should always touch a metal part of the vehicle first, such as the
door, or some other metal surface, away from the fill point when
exiting the car and returning to the refueling area. This reduces
the build-up of static electricity and minimizes the likelihood
of a fire occurring."
For added safety when refueling a vehicle, one should: not smoke,
light matches or lighters while refueling; use only the refueling
latch provided on the gasoline dispenser nozzle - never jam the
refueling latch on the nozzle open; turn off the vehicle engine
while refueling; put the vehicle in park and/or set the emergency
break; and do not over fill or top-off your vehicle tank, which
can cause gasoline spillage.
In the unlikely event a static-caused fire occurs when refueling,
the API says that one should leave the nozzle in the fill pipe and
back away from the vehicle. Tell the station attendant immediately
so that all dispensing devices and pumps can be shut off with emergency
controls. If the gas retail facility is unattended, use the emergency
shutdown button to shut off the pump and use the emergency intercom
to call for help.
When putting gasoline into a container, use only an approved portable
container and place it on the ground when refueling to avoid a possible
static electricity ignition of fuel vapors. Containers, according
to the API, should never be filled while inside a vehicle or its
trunk, the bed of a pickup truck or the floor of the trailer.
For more information contact API's Susan Hahn at 202-682-8118 or
check www.api.org or www.asse.org . The non-profit ASSE is the oldest
and largest professional occupational safety organization with global
membership of more than 30,000 individuals who manage, supervise,
and consult on safety, health and environmental issues in industry,
government, insurance and education. Founded in 1911 and celebrating
its 90th Anniversary, ASSE is dedicated to protecting people, property
and the environment.
SOURCE: American Society of Safety Engineers