Accidents in Petrol Stations

Myths and Truths about Accidents in Petrol Stations

Accidents in petrol stations are more common in countries with self-service systems. A higher percentage of these accidents involve women. Slipping or falling are considered minor accidents, but with results that can be fatal in the long run. The rest are factors that can’t be controlled, like car collisions or careless throwing of cigarettes from a passerby. How, then, can people lower the risk when using petrol stations?

Understanding Some Common Petrol Station Signage

Turn Off Engine

Practically speaking, letting the engine run while filling it with gas is like filling a bathtub with water with the drain uncovered. The analogy may seem an exaggeration since the amount of gas consumed by a car can’t compare to the amount of gas pumped into the car for the duration of approximately two-minutes. Is it about the running engine possibly causing a spark and setting fire to the fuel, then? Even though some people on TV actually contested the truth of that statement by successfully filling up gas while their engine is running, that is exactly the reason behind the signage.

Since a static build-up occurs when a car engine is running, putting the nozzle in the fuel tank can trigger a spark causing the fuel to catch fire. That depends if the static build-up is strong enough to cause a spark—which in some cases are not. Even so, there is a potential, that’s why turning off the engine is crucial when filling up gas.

Turn Off Mobile Phone

This warning is said to be only eighty percent true. There are actually very few reported cases of mobile phones causing fire to fuel. Though using mobile phones produce static, it was not enough to produce a spark. Friction between a person’s clothing and the seat actually has a greater chance of causing accidents, according to the Stop Static campaign of PEI and API. Whether there are instances that mobile phones indeed caused static discharge, the point is that pumping gas should be awarded with utmost concentration and care. Having a person’s attention elsewhere while facing a volatile substance has fatal consequences.

Filling Containers on the Ground

There was a report of a woman in Sydney, Australia who was filling her container with fuel for her mower when it suddenly caught fire. The incident almost burned a city block if not for the quick response of the staff. It turned out that she was carrying the container when it should have been on the ground according to the warning signage. Her container accumulated static, setting the fuel on fire. It just shows the importance of a signage amidst skepticism.

The rest of petrol station warnings—“no smoking” and “never allow children to pump gas”—are self-explanatory when dealing with fuel. As for claims in case of accidents, it is up to the result of the investigation to determine who would be responsible for the incident. However, affected petrol station employees will definitely be compensated by the owner. Other victims should consult personal injury solicitors for further information.