Storing petrol safely
is a dangerous substance; it is a highly flammable liquid and can give off
vapour which can easily be set on fire and when not handled safely has the
potential to cause a serious fire and/or explosion.
means there is always a risk of a fire and/or an explosion if there is a source
of ignition nearby, for example a naked flame, an electrical spark or similar.
Because of these risks storing petrol safely is covered by legislation; and
this applies to you if you store petrol.
is the law on storing petrol safely?
Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 (PCR) which came into force
on 1 October 2014 apply to:
that store petrol where petrol is dispensed, ie retail and non retail petrol
filling stations; and
premises storing petrol, for example at private homes, or at clubs/associations
Enforcement Authorities (PEAs), formerly Petroleum Licensing Authorities (PLAs)
are responsible for enforcing the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014.
They also continue to enforce DSEAR at workplaces covered by PCR. This means
that there is no change to the current enforcing arrangements.
safe storage and use of petrol in workplaces is also covered by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002
Explosives Regulations 2014
The new Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER 2014) came into force on 1
The ER 2014 consolidates and therefore revokes a number of existing explosives
regulations. It brings together the requirements of health and safety related
explosives legislation into a framework based around common topics such as
authorisation, safety, security and placing on the market. As a result of the
consolidation the Approved Code of Practice to the Manufacture and Storage of
Explosives Regulations 2005 (L139) has been withdrawn.
Guidance relating to the security of explosives (HSE Circular 1/2005),
and guidance on the placing of civil use explosives on the market (L66) have
also been withdrawn.
The main changes to the regulatory framework include:
merging registrations into the licensing system
allowing local authorities to issue licences up to 5 years, aligning
them with equivalent HSE/police-issued licences
extending licensing to address storage of ammonium nitrate blasting
exceptions for keeping higher hazard and desensitised explosives without
a licence have been updated
tables of separation distances have been restructured to better allow
for sites with more than one store; the tables have also been revised to cover
quantities of explosives greater than 2000kg
a revised list of explosives that can be acquired or acquired and kept
without an explosives certificate from the police
the repeal of the Fireworks Act 1951
The regulations are supported by a suite of overarching and subsector guidance.
The overarching guidance consists of two documents:
L150 focuses on safety provisions
L151 covers security provisions
These top-level documents are principally aimed at more complex and
larger operations but they contain overarching technical guidance and
background information that will help all dutyholders to comply with the safety
and security provisions in the regulations. They are structured around the
fundamental objectives, described as ‘statements of success’, that all duty
holders in the industry should achieve in a manner that is proportionate to
their business and also identify detailed specialist and topic based guidance.
The subsector guidance, which will generally follow the same structure
as L150, is due to be published soon. HSE will not remove any guidance until
such time as a replacement is available. The level of guidance to be used and
how to use it will depend on the type of dutyholder, the types of explosive,
and the subsector that the dutyholder is operating in.
Not all the regulations would be expected to apply to all of the
activities of all subsectors. This is because different subsectors undertake
different activities and work with different types of explosives. Information
on what regulations would be expected to apply to different subsectors is due
to be published soon.
Safe use of Acetylene
Acetylene is an extremely flammable gas
and can form an explosive atmosphere in the presence of air or oxygen.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive
Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (‘DSEAR’)
2002. A risk assessment must be undertaken by
employers under DSEAR when acetylene is or is liable to be present in the
workplace and suitable controls put in place where an explosive atmosphere may
occur in the workplace (see eg DSEAR regulations 5, 7 and 11).
The Acetylene Safety (England and Wales and
Scotland) Regulations 2014 (‘ASR 2014’)
ASR Regulations 2014
Acetylene gas poses an additional
hazard to other flammable gases as it is also reactive. Under certain conditions,
even in the absence of any air or oxygen, it can decompose explosively into its
constituent elements, carbon and hydrogen. This hazard is not fully addressed
by DSEAR and so additional legal requirements for the safe use of
acetylene gas at equal to or greater than 0.62 barg (“compressed acetylene
gas”) and the equipment used with this are provided by the ASR 2014 which came
into force on 1 October 2014 to consolidate and modernise existing legislation
. The ASR includes, in certain circumstances, the requirement for a flame
arrestor to stop the progression of a flame resulting from the decomposition or
uncontrolled combustion of acetylene gas, which could lead to an explosion.
Simple acetylene welding, cutting and related
It is recommended that acetylene gas is
only used by those trained to use it using suitably designed handling
HSE guidance which provides information
for basic users of acetylene is available:
Working safely with
In addition users may also find the
following guidance useful:
Gases Association (BCGA) -
GN13- DSEAR Risk Assessment
Gases association (EIGA) SL04/10 - The safe transport, use and storage of
Guidance does not replace the need for
compliance with the regulations, with which you will also need to be familiar.
Complex/specialist uses of acetylene gas
Acetylene users with more complex or
specialist needs should check the information provided by their acetylene gas
supplier and the manufacturer of the equipment being used before it is first
put into use. It is recommended that modifications to equipment used/to be used
with acetylene gas should only be made by those trained to do this; even
changes that appear minor may pose significant risks.
Cylinders used with acetylene gas following an
exposure to a flame
All pressurised cylinders regardless of
their contents are at greatest risk of failure whilst being subject to
If a cylinder filled with compressed
acetylene gas is exposed to a flashback, starts to warm up or vibrate, or if
such a cylinder was involved in a fire, its contents may have begun to
decompose. This process can become self-sustaining causing the cylinder to
explode, in some cases hours after the initiating event.. Such cylinders pose a
risk to anyone in their vicinity and it is strongly advised that they should
not be approached until they are made safe. It is recommended that an area of
200 meters around the heated cylinder is evacuated immediately and the Fire and
Rescue Service (FRS) is called straight away. The Fire and Rescue Services have
specific procedures for dealing with cylinders containing acetylene. It is
strongly advised you do not attempt to move such a cylinder nor make any
attempt to release its pressure by venting it as this could accelerate
Further information and industry guidance can be
Cylinders in fire -
British Compressed Gases Association
The BCGA have also reproduced the
relevant section for such cylinders from ‘Fire and rescue service
operational guidance: incidents involving hazardous materials ’
Colour coding of cylinders containing Acetylene Gas
Misidentification of cylinders in an
emergency situation can increase risks or may result in unnecessary disruption.
For this reason, cylinders filled with compressed acetylene gas must be
coloured ‘Maroon’ (RAL 3007) on both the shoulder and body of the cylinder
If the colour of the cylinder is different or has become obscured for
some reason (eg paint overspray, abrasion, corrosion) it will be unlawful for
you to use it with compressed acetylene gas. It is advised that you contact
your supplier for advice.