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Filling multiple containers at petrol filling stations

This guidance is aimed at Petrol Filling Stations (PFS) operators and visitors to the area as a guide on the control and safe dispensing of petrol on PFS forecourts. It does not cover the carriage of dangerous goods which are enforced by the Police, DVSA and HSE.

PFS operate under a certificate/licence granted by Dorset Council’s Trading Standards Service which requires operators to adhere to licence conditions and control measures to ensure the safe operation of the PFS. PFS operators may have their own internal policy on the types and numbers of containers they are prepared to fill based upon commercial, operational and site specific safety criteria.  

Suitable containers

Metal containers designed for the storage and carriage of petroleum spirit (max. 10 litres, unless prior agreement has been obtained from the PFS).

Plastic containers (5 litre) designed and constructed to meet the plastic containers regulations. Demountable fuel tanks, the petrol tank of a motor boat or similar vessel that has been designed so that it can be safely removed and re-affixed to the engine of the boat without leaking fuel.

UN Approved Containers are containers that have been tested and meet the requirements for the carriage of petrol. These containers are marked with a ‘UN’ logo, e.g. 1A1/Y1.6/270/**/GB/****

Filling portable containers  

They must be:

  • removed from inside vehicles and be placed on the forecourt
  • filled with the nozzle operating lever held open manually
  • securely closed as soon as dispensing finishes

Pedestrian customers should not take filled or used containers into the shop when paying for petrol.

All containers should have their caps securely replaced immediately after filling.

After filling, containers should remain on the ground for a short period to allow for the safe dispersal of vapours from any wetting caused by petrol splashes or outflows.

Containers should be filled one at a time. The caps of the other containers, both empty and full, should remain securely closed. This control measure will prevent the escalation of a fire should an ignition occur.

The place used for the multiple filling of containers will need to be provided with some form of barrier to prevent members of the public entering the hazardous area when filling is in progress. For example, a designated dispenser, ‘coned off’ and enabling clear supervision by PFS staff.

Engines of vehicles (and any auxiliary engines) should be switched-off before dispensing starts. Dispensing equipment should be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (for example, equipment designed to be operated by an attendant should be operated only by an attendant). Delivery hoses should not be kinked or stretched. 

Emergency equipment should be brought to the attention of PFS customers. For example minor spillage control, including locations of ‘fire/sand buckets’, fire extinguishers and ‘petrol pumps switch off here’.

Further advice

If you require further advice/clarification on the law and requirements associated with the safe dispensing of petroleum spirit, please contact us.

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