The case highlights the importance of safe fuel storage
|Date:||Wednesday, 25 March 2015|
Osborne Park business fined $50,000 for storing 50 times the legal amount of fuel at workshop
Auto mechanic business and racing fuel supplier R.P.W. Pty Ltd, trading as RPW Service Centre, has been fined $50,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court after the company pleaded guilty to storing more than 50 times the legal amount of fuel at its Osborne Park workshop.
The charges were laid after an inspection by Dangerous Goods officers discovered the stockpile of fuel.
Department of Mines and Petroleum Resources Safety Dangerous Goods and Petroleum Safety Director Ross Stidolph said the case highlighted the importance of safe fuel storage as part of dangerous goods safety.
“The amount of fuel being stored at the workshop could have led to a major if not catastrophic explosion,” he said.
“Although the company had some safety measures in place, the controls were entirely inadequate for the large amount of fuel being stored.”
There were a number of potential ignition sources, limited ventilation and no way of containing the fuel in the event of a spill.
“This was a high-risk situation and created the very real potential for a catastrophic incident, particularly as there were no firewalls to prevent the spread of a fire,” Mr Stidolph said.
“The storage of this fuel presented a threat not only to R.P.W. Service Centre, but also neighboring businesses and the public.
“Emergency response personnel were also at increased risk due to the lack of exterior signage warning them of the dangerous goods within the workshop.”
Following the inspection by the department, the fuel was seized and moved to an off-site, purpose-built dangerous goods warehouse.
“In this case we were able to act and ensure that the fuel was moved and stored safely,” Mr Stidolph said.
“However, it is absolutely vital that businesses address the risks associated with storing and transporting dangerous goods.
“Ignorance is not a defence, so if businesses are unsure of any requirements, they should contact the department’s Dangerous Goods branch on 9358 8001 or go to www.dmp.wa.gov.au/resourcessafety.”
Mr Stidolph said RPW Service Centre has worked cooperatively with the department.
“The business has actively worked to improve safety and minimise risks from dangerous goods on site,” he said.