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The Use of Smartphones in the presence of Diesel Dispensing activities

Expert Opinion

We are often asked about the risks associated with use of the Fuellox App and Smartphones in the presence of Diesel Dispensing activities.

Ignition risk is purely based on presence of vapours. Diesel is a high vapour pressure liquid and as a result has little to no vapours at ambient to high temperatures. This is commonly known throughout industry and this expert opinion is shared among industry professionals.

Furthermore

1. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau looked at 243 petrol station fires worldwide between 1993 and 2004 concluding that not one was caused by a mobile phone.

2. The American Petroleum Institute’s Robert Renkes states “We have not found a cell phone responsible for any fire since the beginning of mankind”

3. All Industry discussion on the topic is relevant to Gasoline fuels and not Diesel due to the lack of vapour when considering diesel.

Much greater sources of ignition are commonly found in any refuelling scenario (ie starter motors, pumps) that do not ignite any vapours.

While there is debate around the risk of ignition for gasoline (which is unproven) there is categorically zero risk when it comes to diesel.

In conclusion, the use of a smart phones in the presence of diesel refueling poses no risk of ignition to anyone under any normal or perceivable operating condition or circumstance.

David White –  Chief Executive Office 
B.Sc (Chem), B.App.Sc(App Chem) Hons.

Background
David White is a qualified Industrial Chemist with direct experience in the technical support and management of Static Energy entrainment in diesel, kerosene, aviation fuels and solvent systems.

David has in the past acted as a fuels technical chemist and has written many MSDS’s for various hydrocarbon fuels, solvents and chemical mixtures.

David has worked with Shell, BP, Caltex, Mobil and others to develop sound practices in the application of static dissipation risk policy for terminals, refineries and complex supply chains.

David is a contributing author on a paper mitigating the risk of fire in solvent extraction circuits that was written for Olympic Dam around static energy entrainment and presented to an international audience.

While there are risks associated with static energy in diesel fuels, all diesel sold in Australia that meets the minimum standards must have a Conductivity of no less than 50pS/m according to ASTM D2624. The requirement of this Conductivity specification is purely to eliminate the risk of igniting gasoline vapours in the supply chain. This feature of the fuel in no way modifies the vapour phase properties and is irrelevant in the context of mobile phones & Ignition from such.

Diesel is a Class 9 Dangerous Good under Australia transport regulations (ie ADG) whereas Gasoline (ie. Petrol) is a Class 3. Class 9 Dangerous Goods are merely combustible materials.

Where some attach a Flammable Diamond label to a diesel tank they are in fact labelling the tank incorrectly. Worksafe Queensland state that Diesel is a C1 Combustible Liquid and must carry such signage.

IOTIQ Pty Ltd recommend members of the public follow all service station safety signage at all times.

Further directive on the use of Fuellox with Flammable Liquids
Where customers intend to use Fuellox for Gasoline or other flammable liquids we recommend at the very least (1) A complete hazardous area design (2) A risk assessment completed by a qualified, and licensed person (3) Use of armored/jacketed cables and glands for electrical installation (4) Electrical systems to be installed outside the immediate hazardous zone (5) Use of intrinsically safe handsets as commercially available.

Further Reading – Relevant to Petrol Discussion

Further Reading

See more from Worksafe Queensland on the Labelling and storage of Hazardous Liquids and Diesel (Page 6).

Dr Karl

Science Writer, ABC

Dr Karl has looked into the use of mobile phones at Service Stations.

University of Melbourne

U.Melb has another article over here relating to Petrol and Service Stations.

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