Safe Refueling
Re-fueling can be a dangerous task if not done correctly. Each year, there are many accidents and spills caused by careless refueling.

By taking a few simple steps, you can avoid accidents and spills. Here are some tips for safe refueling:

Common hazards associated with refueling:

  • Spills caused by overfilling
  • Fires caused by static electricity
  • Explosion hazards from fuel vapors
  • Breathing in fuel fumes can be harmful to your health

Dangers of inhaling fuel:

Fuel vapors can contain harmful chemicals that can damage your lungs. If you inhale too much fuel vapor, you could experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, and difficulty breathing. In extreme cases, inhaling fuel vapors can lead to unconsciousness and death. If you think you are experiencing these symptoms, get to fresh air immediately and call 000. Never try to tough it out when it comes to inhaling fuel vapors – it’s not worth the risk!

Top tips for safe refueling:

  1. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before refueling to help you avoid any potential hazards.
  2. Make sure the area around the fuel tank is clear of debris and flammable materials.
  3. Never smoke while refueling as it is a major fire hazard.
  4. Turn off all electronic devices: This includes cell phones, radios, and anything else that could create a spark.
  5. Make sure the fuel hose is properly connected to prevent spills and leaks.
  6. Slowly open the valve to help control the flow of fuel.
  7. PPE:  always wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling fuel. This can include gloves, goggles, and a respirator if needed.
  8. Never use unapproved containers to store fuel as they can lead to fires and explosions.
  9. Only use approved fuel to prevent contamination and other hazards.
  10. Dispose of used oil and antifreeze properly for environmental safety.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings, including knowing where the fire extinguisher is located.
  12. Turn off the engine before starting to refuel. 
  13. Remove any metal objects from your pockets, such as keys or coins. These can create static electricity which can cause a fire. 
  14. To avoid spills, always stop refueling before the tank is full. If the pump shuts off automatically, do not try to force it to keep going. This could cause a spill.

What to do in the event of a spill:

If you do spill fuel, clean it up immediately. Wipe the area with a rag or paper towel to soak up as much as possible, then dispose of the materials in a safe way. If the spill is large, call your supervisor or safety officer for assistance. 

By following these simple steps, you can avoid accidents and spills when refueling.

This Post Is Part Of A Series: 101 Toolbox Topic Ideas For The Construction Industry
Do you struggle to come up with toolbox talk ideas each week to discuss with your workers? Fear no more, Work Safety QLD is here to the rescue with 101 Free Toolbox Talk Ideas for the Construction Industry.

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