Keeping Your Service Station Compliant: Hazardous Substances
As a small business owner, part of running a successful business is ensuring that your petrol station is compliant and meeting all regulations. Keeping your service station compliant is a multifaceted undertaking that extends to many areas of your business including fuel, inventory, storefronts, and more. One such area of compliance is in relation to hazardous substances.
By nature of the business, service stations handle a variety of hazardous substances daily. Mishandling of these substances not only will result in your petrol station being noncompliant, but can be dangerous for your employees and business as well.
Keep Safety Guides and Inventories On Hand
Part of running a safe operation is ensuring that all safety and training materials are readily available for use and review. These sheets include a variety of critical information such as first aid, storage guidelines, how to handle spills, and personal protective equipment guidelines.
It is also important to maintain a current inventory of all hazardous materials at your business. This inventory is mandatory and is used by emergency workers in order to assess risk and obtain a full understanding of what flammable or hazardous materials are on the premises. Keep updated copies of safety manuals and inventory sheets in designated locations, and be sure all employees are familiar with their content.
Train Staff Accordingly
A safe and compliant workplace is one in which employees are fully trained in the handling of all potential hazardous substances or materials. Employees should have a full understanding of health risks, proper handling, storage, and their responsibilities as a worker in handling the substances.
Training should be carefully documented, and all workers should be reviewed for skills and understanding as it pertains to using and handling hazardous substances at your petrol station.
Formal training should be undertaken by all employees like ServoSkills which is available free to ServoPro members.
Petrol stations must follow determined safety regulations when storing hazardous material such as fuel. For example, all service station owners must keep diesel, petrol, and LPG separated on their forecourts. Stock and storage items should be stored accordingly as well, ensuring employees properly separate, label, and store items such as cleaners.
Because service stations regularly experience fuel transfers, designated areas called hazardous areas should be maintained at your business as well. These areas should be well protected from ignition sources such as electricity, mobile phones, and open flame.
Clear Signage & Secondary Containment
To remain compliant, your petrol station must maintain correct signage which discloses the presence and location of hazardous substances. Petrol, diesel, and LPG should be properly labeled and visible.
Because of the possibility of a leaking underground tank, your business may be required to install a secondary containment system to prevent fuel contamination in the event of a leak. These containment systems must be present in all below ground stationary tanks, as well as above ground tanks.
Emergency Preparation and Site Plans
In order to be compliant with law and regulations, your business must have a functional and familiar emergency preparation plan. All employees should be well-versed in this emergency plan, and existing plans should be tested at least once a year. This will help prevent harm in the event of an emergency caused by hazardous substances such as chemical spills, fires, or harmful contact with fuel.
Additionally, your service station should be able to provide full site plans showing the layout and location of buildings and hazardous material storage. Keeping this information updated and accurate will keep your petrol station in compliance.
Finally, there is an array of certifications your service station must obtain and maintain in order to remain compliant with local laws. Your business should gain a location compliance certification, varied worker certificates, and tank and dispenser certification. The process for each type of certification may vary, but each is crucial to ensure your petrol station is up to code and qualified to operate within regulation.
ServoPro members have access to our Site Audit App, which helps service station owners identify any areas of compliance which have been missed. If you need help or advice regarding compliance around hazardous substances, please reach out for help.