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Plant and Equipment Refuelling on Construction Sites

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Refuelling management can reduce fuelling costs, increase asset efficiency and save you money if managed properly; but at the same time any plant or equipment that is refuelled on site has the potential to impact on the environment.

You are responsible for any pollution from plant and equipment on your site, even if you dont own it. Therefore, all reasonable and practical measures must be taken to reduce the chance of polluting the environment. Some of legislation requirements in regards to refuelling activities should be considered: It is illegal to pollute, cause the pollution of or permit the pollution of any waters. It is illegal to pollute, cause the pollution of or permit the pollution of land. It is illegal to harm threatened fish species, their habitats or ecological communities. It is illegal to harm threatened terrestrial species (both plants and animals), their habitats and ecological communities.

Management of refuelling at worksites Refuelling usually takes place from a refuelling truck or from Jerri cans or other suitable containers The following controls should be implemented at worksites when plant refuelling is carried out. Designate suitable refuelling location at least 40 metres from any watercourse. As a minimum, the refuelling area must have: Impervious bunding around the whole area that is large enough to accommodate an item of plant or machinery and at least the hose and valves of the refuelling truck. If possible, the whole refuelling truck should be accommodated. A sump or low point where stormwater run-off and any spills can be temporarily contained and collected. A sign directing all plant and machinery operators to refuel within the designated refuelling area. Establish refuelling areas in a location that will not need to be moved during the course of the contract. Consider laying concrete hard standing with controlled drainage or thick impermeable membrane overlain with sand and stone for vehicles to stand on whilst they are being refuelled. This reduces the risk of accidental release of fuel to the environment. 2012 Ensafe (

Make sure that any container that you use for transporting fuel is fit for purpose, has a sealed lid, does not leak and is properly labelled

Refuelling should always take place within the designated refuelling area. If this is not possible (such as, plant cannot be readily taken off the works area), then:

ALWAYS refuel on the road formation. NEVER refuel in vegetated areas (even roadside grasses). NEVER refuel over drainage lines (including the table drain). NEVER refuel within 40 metres of a watercourse or over waters (such as on a bridge or a culvert). NEVER leave the refuelling activity unattended. During refuelling, the risk of fuel spillage through overfilling or poor control of the operation is high KNOW where your spill kit is kept and ENSURE you know how to use it. If possible, keep a spill kit on the refuelling truck If refuelling on a steep slope, ALWAYS place a temporary bund (such as a gravel-filled sausage) downhill of the refuelling hose in a U-shape to trap any spilled liquid. All hoses, valves, trigger guns, funnels and other associated equipment should be kept within the bunded area. Any trigger guns present should be fitted with an automatic cut off

Diesel and other fuel oils released to water or land are highly polluting to the environment. Storing chemicals (oil and fuel) The following safety rules should be observed for storage of chemicals: Until you set up a storage compound, minimise the quantities of oil and fuel you have on site. Store all chemicals within a bund or drip tray. Fuel, oil and chemical storage facilities should be located on impermeable surfaces with controlled drainage, away from storm water sewers, grids, channels and watercourses. All funnels, buckets, containers, brushes and other associated equipment should also be kept in a bunded area when not in use. Clearly label tanks with their contents and storage capacity; this will reduce the risk of overfill and spillage. If you are storing oils such as mould release oils or hydraulic oils in barrels from which you will need to transfer small quantities to other containers before use, have a tap fitted to the barrel. Store the barrel on its side, on a stand, within a bunded area.

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Place a bucket or container under taps to safeguard against drips and leaks. Any leakage can then be reused. You will also prevent fuels and oils mixing with any water in the base of the bunded area. Consider using biodegradable hydraulic oils when working in or near water. Where possible, protect hydraulic hoses from damage. Hoses and connections should be regularly checked for leaks and faults. Ensure that any containers you carry with you are correctly labelled, are fit for purpose and are securely stored to prevent them being damaged or spilt. Containers should be placed on drip trays to collect small spillages.

If you are storing small amounts of oil or diesel within your working area, ensure that they are: stored upright with their lids securely on located away from watercourses or surface water drains correctly labelled Stored in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Store any containers away from areas in which vehicles regularly move By using containers with watertight lids, you can reduce the risk of accidental spillage of mould release oil onto the ground and reduce the risk of rainwater getting into the product. Security and vandalism Fuel storage tanks should be locked when not in use to prevent unauthorised access and to reduce the risk of vandalism. As the owners or controllers of that fuel, you will be liable for any pollution that it causes even if vandals release the fuel.

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