Diesel Spillage A Major Risk To Your Business


Diesel Spillage A Major Risk To Your Business

Safety & environmental concerns are now taking front page of most businesses using diesel fuel within their fleets. How we safely store, transfer and essentially handle diesel fuel without having major impacts on our environment could be very costly for a business if there is constant spillages or leaks. Not to mention the safety and welfare of the operators servicing the vehicles. All this can also cost the business hundreds of thousands of dollars over time if not addressed properly. Worst still it can cost millions of dollars if harm came to an operator.

For decades heavy duty mining vehicles have been using pressurised refuelling systems in many vehicles. These systems are not your standard bowsers at the local service station. They operate at high flow rates to fill large tanks in a matter of seconds.

This design actuates once the tank is near full it pressurises, actuating the fuel system to shut-off. It operates on a single manual fill point and a fuel vent that pressurises the fuel tank.

This type of system can reduce the service life of the tank slowly weakening its welds and joins through cyclic refuelling. This eventually leads to warps and bulges that distort the tank which can rupture the tank spilling diesel fuel everywhere.

Another issue faced is that these systems can be generally overwritten by the operator. Once the system shuts off due to the pressure build up in the tank, the pressure drops and more diesel fuel can be pumped into the tank. The result is the tank being overfilled and spilling more diesel fuel. What is more dangerous is that it could potentially spill over the operator during this process and cause serious harm.

Diesel Spillage A Major Risk To Your Business

Some sites still operate using these types of systems and many can go for long periods of time without problems. However, is that a risk worth taking?

Many businesses can take the “reactive” approach and change systems or provide training when and after the incident occurs. Nowadays businesses are thinking smarter and taking the “prevent” approach saving valuable money in the meantime. So how are they doing this?

So what do you do with an outdated refuelling system which has been in service for decades? Providing sufficient training to staff is only half the battle as room needs to be made for “human” error. Not to mention the variety of brands out there that simply confuses the user and each working differently to the next.

What you need is a system that works with existing installations methods and providing sufficient training to operators on how to use that system as a preventative measure. Installing a whole new system does not mean a whole new way to install and service. In fact, it may work out better in the long run!

Interesting Facts

A safety bulletin (SB15-03) from the NSW Trade & Investment Resources & Energy has observed that “there have been several related incidents of diesel fuel fires occurring on mobile plant equipment while being refuelled”. The report also reads that the refuelling system relied on the build-up of pressure to trigger the refuelling system to stop. It was also pointed out that the system failed to contain the pressurised fuel spilling it to the hot turbo of the engine and that is had inadvertently created the blaze.

The report advises when using a pressurised system special consideration needs to be taken into account. These could include but not limited to:

  • Creating control measures for when the diesel fuel is spilled .
  • Carry out analysis on failures that might occur.
  • Locating fuel vents away from ignitable elements such as turbo’s
  • Ensuring the tank design can handle constant pressurisation on a cyclic manner.

All of which can cost businesses time and money to comply with. Most important factor in all of this is training the staff and operators to ensure they comply with standards and are using the equipment properly, safely and without causing further dangers to themselves and the environment.

All these issues faced by businesses can amount to a cost that can be crippling. Imagine the associated costs when a fuel tank ruptures or fails due to cyclic pressurisation or the amount of diesel fuel that gets spilled in the process of refuelling not only wasting money but harming the environment. And offcourse the biggest danger to operators by having diesel fuel spilled on them and unimaginable dangers associated with fires.

A non-pressure system can eliminate diesel fuel spillages and any safety concerns. In a non-pressure system a signal line is used to actuate pressure based on the tank level. The system does not require the pressure to initiate shut-off which in turn prevents stresses acting on the fuel tank. Thus not requiring extra analysis on the tank. Non-pressure systems cannot be overwritten and therefore cannot cause overfill issues that result in diesel spillage or operator safety.

Non-pressure systems are usually broken into 3 sections:

  • The manual fill point
  • The fuel vent
  • The signal line

As diesel fuel enters the tank via the manual fill point, air escapes the through the fuel vent preventing the tank from being pressurised. Once the fuel reaches the fuel vent, diesel fuel travels through the signal line back to the fill point pressurising it and hence shutting down the refuelling. As long as the fuel level in the tank remains to be at the fuel vent, the signal line will keep the system shut-off and hence cannot be overwritten.

It is by far the safest and most reliable technique used in the field for refuelling heavy duty diesel vehicles. This reduces the environmental impact from having diesel spills/puddles or drainage when refuelling. Each system can save businesses time and money and also have peace of mind that their operators are safer.

The JSG Industrial Systems Solution Available to You

JSG Industrial Systems has been considered the market leader in providing cost effective occupational health and safety products with regards to maintenance and environmental solutions. JSG’s focus has always been reducing maintenance costs, increase productivity and better utilization of the workforce by providing comprehensive training and guidance.

Diesel Spillage A Major Risk To Your Business

We do this by supplying prime products that always surpass the industries expectations. Our years of experience with both mines and civil projects have awarded us with many loyal clients proving we are the ones for the job.

JSG supply a Non-Pressurised System (NPS) from Flomax International that has proven to work in the field. This NPS has provided effective results by eliminating diesel fuel spillage and is easy to install. As we also provide training and technical guidance so operators are less likely to be faced with dangerous scenarios and prevent further damage to the environment.

These systems can be established across a variety of industries such as mining, rail, road fleet vehicles and marine applications. Combined with a superior product and long standard expertise in these fields JSG can provide a safer refuelling system that saves your business time and money.

Remember, using the pressurised system simply means that more precautions/analysis and proper installations are required and additional training needs to be implemented on regular occasion. The reason for this is that there are so many versions from many companies each working differently from each other.

Moving to a non-pressure system can save you time & money. It is also easy to install with existing configurations and has been proven to prevent diesel spillages. With its override compensation operator errors are a thing of the past.


  • www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au
  • Diesel & Fluid Management Systems - For more information click here