HSSE

Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE)

In order to operate safely in a petroleum handling environment such as a fuel forecourt, it is imperative to understand certain basic characteristics of petroleum products. This will serve as a guide in strictly adhering to established standard operating procedures for the discharge of products and the prevention of accidents.

Petroleum products easily evaporate in our very hot environment.
The vapours arising from evaporating petroleum products mixes with air which contains oxygen. Certain proportions of these mixtures will easily ignite when in contact with a source of heat. This will result in fires or the explosion of empty or partially filled vessels.
Petroleum fires emanate from the ignition of petroleum vapor that is, air mixtures of the right proportions. The resulting fire engulfs the liquid product resulting in increased vaporization. The fire immediately sets up convection currents in the air causing hot gases and the heated air to rise up. Subsequently fresh air blows towards the fire bringing in more oxygen to intensify and spread the fire.Sources of ignition around the forecourt environment include:

  1. Food vendors;
  2. Bush fires;
  3. Electrical equipment such as sockets, tools, and torches;
  4. Electronic equipment including mobile phones and cameras;
  5. Metals scratching one another or concrete surfaces;
  6. Demolition of concrete with power tools;
  7. Vehicle battery terminals and;
  8. Vehicle exhausts.
Petroleum vapours are denser than air. The vapours therefore settle below and displace the air. In poorly ventilated areas such as:

  1. Rooms with closed windows;
  2. Tank farm manholes;
  3. Service pits and;
  4. Empty vessels that have contained products,

there may not be enough oxygen to sustain life. A person caught up in such an environment will lose consciousness within four (4) minutes and may die if unnoticed and rescued. This is as a result of asphyxiation.

Certain petroleum products easily build-up electrostatic charge when pumped or transferred from one container to another, examples include:

  1. Dispensing product into certain plastic containers;
  2. Discharging fuel from tanker into underground tanks and;
  3. Pumping of fuel from underground tanks into tankers.

Opposite electrical charges build-up between the products and the containers. When these charges become excessive, the introduction of an electrically conductive material can cause an electrical spark between the product and the container which can start a fire.

Prolonged exposure to petroleum products generally has a negative impact on a person’s health hence the following must be noted:

  • Petroleum products are harmful if swallowed. The product may be aspirated into the lungs that lead to respiratory tract irritations.
  • The environment for handling petroleum products must be well ventilated.
  • Inhalation of vapours may cause headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea and unconsciousness.
  • Petroleum products must never be siphoned by mouth.
  • Forecourt staff must understand that good hygiene including washing of hands with soap before meals is important.
  • Vomiting must not be induced if petroleum product is swallowed.
  • It is important to avoid petroleum product entering into eyes.
  • Prolonged contact with skin must be avoided.
  • Clothes soaked with petroleum product must be removed immediately.
  • Risk of fire injuries.
  • Risk of physical injuries from explosions.
It must me noted that it is important to seek medical attention after any first aid treatment. Some of immediate first aid measure to be taken include the following:

  • In a case of eye contact, flush with fresh clean water for at least ten minutes.
  • In skin contact; remove soaked clothing and flush the affected areas with fresh clean water.
  • In cases of fume or vapour inhalation remove person to an area of fresh air. If the person is not breathing perform artificial respiration while a call is made for an ambulance.
  • Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person,
  • All staff at the forecourt must have basic training in fire safety and firefighting.
  • Forecourt staff must know the operations of the various types of portable fire extinguishers provided for emergency at the forecourt, such as:
  1. Foam;
  2. Carbon Dioxide and;
  3. Dry Powder.
  • Forecourt staff must have knowledge of the essential parts of fire extinguishers which include:
  1. The labeling indicating expiry date;
  2. The safety pin which must be removed before the extinguisher can function;
  3. The pressure gauge which is an indication that a pressurized extinguisher is in good order and;
  4. The appropriate way of pointing the extinguisher spout towards a fire.
Product spillage can occur in several ways including:

  1. Spillage from customer vehicle tank spouts;
  2. Damaged pump hose;
  3. Problem with fuel tanker discharge equipment and;
  4. Overturning of filled customer containers.

In all these circumstances forecourt staff must understand that containing the spillage and keeping ignition sources away from the spillage is imperative:

  • Spillage at the station can be contained with sand from sand buckets or with other absorbent materials available on hand.
  • In serious cases the emergency response protocol for the forecourt must be activated.
  • It may also be important to call the fire service and notify the head office immediately.
The use of personal protective equipment is important while working at the forecourt and taking part in emergency response operations. The use of the following are recommended:

  • Safety boots;
  • Work clothes;
  • Helmets;
  • Eye shield and;
  • Hand gloves.
Each of the Allied stations has an emergency response procedure to be followed in any serious event. Forecourt staff are advised to regularly acquaint themselves with the various standard operating procedural activities in order to assure effective participation in emergency response. The essentials of emergency response includes:

  1. Raising an alarm to notify other forecourt staff, customers, neighbors and the general public;
  2. Attacking a fire with fire extinguishers;
  3. Stopping and containing spillage;
  4. Calling the GNFS, the Police or the Ambulance service;
  5. Gathering at the assembly point for a head count and;
  6. Notifying the head office.
The company has employed security staff from G4 Security for day and night watch at each owned station location.

  • Security shall not participate in the day to day operations of Allied at the location except where specified;
  • Security shall however fully participate in emergency response activities in order to protect their own lives, the lives of other forecourt staff, customers, and the general public;
  • In the event of an armed robbery it is advised not to play the hero but to follow the attackers’ instructions as much as is possible.
The following are recommended in a petroleum fuel handling environment:

  • Discharge from tankers must halt during rain or thunder storms;
  • Work clothes must be anti-static;
  • Entry into unventilated areas must be watched;
  • Jumping of tanker batteries must be prevented;
  • Vehicles must not be push-started on the station forecourt;
  • When pumping into tankers, metal conductors must be inserted into the compartments and leaned against hatches to ensure neutralization of any static electrical charges;
  • Fuel tankers must also be bonded electrically to an independent earth for the dissipation of static charges;
  • Empty containers must be stored upright, cocked, away from direct sunlight, and in well ventilated areas;
  • The use of mobile phones while handling petroleum products is not recommended;
  • Lighters, matches and smoking are banned at the forecourt;
  • Persons not trained in fuel handling operations must not be called to assist in any task and must evacuate the facility in case of any undesirable event;
  • Storage of petroleum products in containers is prohibited at the forecourt;
  • Washing of contaminated products or sludge into drains is forbidden;
  • In the event of spillage, neighbors must be notified and if necessary to evacuate;
  • Food vendors setting up fires must not be tolerated at the forecourt premises and its peripherals;
  • Food vendors in adjoining premises whose activities endanger fuel operations must be notified and if necessary reported to the GNFS;
  • Firefighting is only for small fires;
  • The use of guns is prohibited;
  • Throwing of any weapons at intruders or thieves is not recommended at the station;
  • Fires out of control must be abandoned and the GNFS called;
  • In case of armed robbery, no phone calls must be made during the event;
  • Unauthorized persons shall not climb unto fuel tankers;
  • Shoes with metal clipped soles are not recommended;
  • The facility shall maintain a list of emergency call numbers to requisite authorities in the neighborhood e.g.:
    • GNFS;
    • Night patrol police;
    • Nearest Hospitals and clinics and;
    • Nearest ambulance service