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Safety when refuelling portable equipment

Elimination of risk when refuelling portable equipment is absolutely essential for the safety of yourself and those around you. Vapours and spills can easily be ignited by hot engine parts, static electricity or other ignition sources, which can result in fires and explosions.

Where possible, risk must be reduced, if not completely eliminated. In some cases, alternatives to fuel can be used, such as mains power, battery powered tools, or a deep-cycles battery and an invertor. It is also possible, in certain situations, that diesel can be used. Diesel is a safer alternative to petrol as it has a higher ignition point. Implementing control measures for refuelling procedures will help minimise risk, and having an action plan in affect means that necessary steps can be taken in the case of an emergency.

When refuelling:
» Turn off equipment and allow it time to cool down
» Remove equipment from inside vehicles
» Remove equipment from trailers or surfaces (such as plastic or rubber) to ground out any static charge
» Refuel equipment away from heat and possible ignition sources
» Refuel in a well-ventilated area
» Do not refuel in low lying areas where vapours can accumulate
» Refuel only with approved and labelled fuel containers
» Use a funnel – this will reduce the risk of static electricity and fuel spillage
» Make sure that fire extinguishers are readily accessible
» Always secure fuel caps back on equipment and fuel containers tightly

When transporting portable equipment and fuel containers:
» Allow time for the equipment to cool down before loading it onto a vehicle
» Ensure fuel caps are secured tightly
» Secure in an upright position in a well-ventilated space

When storing fuel onsite:
» Unsure that only approved and labelled fuel containers are being used
» Fuel contain are stored outside of vehicles or structures in a well-ventilated area

Always inform those using the equipment of the risks, hazards and control measures required to refuel safely, and wear personal protective equipment such as boots, non-flammable long pants and long sleeve shirts, eye protection and gloves.

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