Mobile phones are not designed and certified for use in explosive atmospheres which exist temporarily around the pump and nozzle during refuelling as well as around the fill and vent pipes during petrol deliveries.
Whilst the risk of incentive sparking from mobile phones is low, they are not intrinsically safe devices and should not be used in the hazardous areas that exist on a forecourt.
Mobile phones should not be used in the following sensitive locations:
- in the area of the vehicle filler point when filling a vehicle
- In the immediate vicinity of a fuel dispenser
- In the immediate vicinity of tank fill points, tank and separator vents
- in the vicinity of a tanker when unloading
Following reports on mobile phones causing fires at petrol filling stations, more research has been done into the level of risk. The UKPIA finds that there is no evidence linking fires and mobile phones.
Phone risks: Distraction
Using mobile phones can cause a serious distraction. Be vigilant at all times, particularly in areas of traffic movement.
Petrol is highly flammable, giving a risk of fire if there is an ignition source present
- Petrol floats on the surface of water, and so can spread easily
- Petrol vapour sinks to the lowest possible level, and can collect in tanks and pits, where there is little air movement
- Empty tanks and petrol cans can have a flammable atmosphere
Hazardous Area Zoning of Service stations
Petrol and LPG give off highly flammable vapour with a risk of fire or explosion if they come into contact with a heat source. A spark might come from a cigarette, static discharge or an electrical switch.
To prevent the risk of ignition, teh service station is zoned on the basis of the probability of an explosive vapour mixture forming
This is what it could look like for a gas filling station.
Electrical equipment used in the zoned areas must be certified (or rated) as suitable. (ATEX). Most standard Mobile phones or tablets are not rated. Do not use them in the sensitive areas listed above.