Reclassification of Diesel Fuel
A hot potato for those of us working with Diesel in 2016 was the reclassification of Diesel fuel which brought the fuel within the scope of DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations). There has been a significant amount of confusion about what the changes actually mean.
In reality the changes stretch back to 2008 when Diesel was reclassified as a ‘flammable liquid’ under the European Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures), however full adoption of the new regulations did not become mandatory until June 2015.
These changes simply altered the definition of a flammable liquid by changing the flashpoint of liquids covered by DSEAR to between 21 and 60 ºC, previously 21 to 55 ºC. Diesel is generally recognised to have a flashpoint between 55 and 60 ºC and is therefore now under DSEAR.
The HSE has gone to some effort to make it clear that this is a change in the Regulations only and that Diesel has not suddenly become more dangerous to handle and store. The changes in the regulations have done nothing more than place a responsibility on those who store and handle Diesel to risk assess their activities to ensure that there is no increased risk of fire or explosion. One must remember that historically the risks presented by Diesel storage and dispensing into vehicles is extremely low.
Diesel is known to become flammable when the temperature of the fuel is raised to its flashpoint or is presented to a source of ignition in the form of a mist.
During 2015 Cameron Forecourt undertook some sampling of fuel temperatures in various designs of storage tank at different locations in the UK and determined that the temperature of fuel in those storage tanks did not exceed 27 ºC. This is a clear indication that under normal conditions Diesel in storage does not present a flashpoint risk.
We have however risk assessed a number of vehicle refuelling installations and found instances where other equipment such a compressor or electric hand
dryer, could become contaminated with diesel and raise its temperature to flashpoint. Of course, situations like this should be resolved. Furthermore, one must assess the risk of fire or explosion as a result of fuel in the form of a mist.
A number of equipment manufacturers have introduced fuelling equipment that is approved to ATEX for use with Diesel. We strongly recommend that ATEX approved equipment is fitted to new installations and when replacing existing equipment. This equipment does not increase the capital cost by much and along with risk assessing fuel installations is a sensible precaution.
Let’s face it, we risk assess the use of VDU’s and buy suitable equipment where appropriate, why not our fuel installations?
Cameron Forecourt has prepared a more complete description of DSEAR for its customers and is able to provide advice on Risk Assessment.