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Stop refuelling with passengers on board

Stop refuelling with passengers on board
The Banfield Service Station in Kingstown

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Codes of practice are being considered locally for gas stations and minivan operators, which may see vans refuelling without passengers on the inside.

Stop refuelling with passengers on board
Ezra Ledger, the executive director of the Bureau of Standards

This was a topic of discussion during a “stand down” at the SOL Banfield Service Station on Tuesday, October 13, which sought to appeal to the public and minivan operators to desist from engaging in potentially harmful practices at that station.

SOL general manager, Steve Francis said this week that it is a very dangerous practice for vans to refuel with passengers on board.

And he is advocating for a possible law to be put in place, which dictates that this practice not continue.

“…They should come empty, get your fuel, go and get your passengers. I know many of you here would’ve travelled via air. Have you ever entered an aircraft while it is being refuelled? Think about that. I am sure you have never entered an aircraft while that aircraft is being refuelled because that’s a no-no in the aviation industry,” Francis said.

The general manager noted that he was referring specifically to public service vehicles, specifically vans.

He added that several Caribbean countries have already implemented the practice where these vehicles cannot refuel with passengers inside.

Ezra Ledger, the executive director of the Bureau of Standards agreed with Francis’ points, noting that while persons are aware that there should be no smoking at a gas station and that they should turn off cell phones and the ignition, the fundamental aspect of static electricity is sometimes taken for granted.

“Static electricity is basically occasioned by friction where two materials rub against each other. So just imagine you have a packed minivan parked here on this compound. Of course, there is more than one person. Some of them may have nylon clothes, some of them may have satin, other type of material and the mere fact that they might be in a stationary vehicle, either rubbing against the plastic or the fibre on the seat, or against one another, that can create static electricity and it all depends of the intensity of that static electricity,” Ledger explained.

He said this has the potential to create an ignition source with the petroleum product vapour that is in the air.

Stop refuelling with passengers on board
SOL general manager, Steve Francis says that it is a very dangerous practice for vans to refuel with
passengers on board.

The executive director said it was a priority that there be a code of practice for minivan operators which, like Francis suggested, will include that vehicles not refuel with passengers on board as it is a dangerous practice.

Ledger revealed that approval has been granted for the Bureau to proceed with a code of practice for fuel stations as well, which will address practices for the retail and operation of a station.

“Of course, this will incorporate a lot of the guidelines already established by the companies like SOL and Rubis and other international benchmarks that will be used to safeguard the whole safety, not only of the workers but it could be of course, persons who are in this vicinity…” he said.

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