These guidelines provide practical advice on ways to manage the health and safety risks associated with the above ground storage of fuel on farms.

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The unsafe storage of fuel can expose workers and others to health and safety risks.

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Who should use these guidelines?

These guidelines are for any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) who manages a farm where fuel is stored.

It may also be useful for workers, fuel distributors and other organisations involved in the supply of fuel to farms.

1.2 What are these guidelines about?

These guidelines provide guidance on ways to manage the risks associated with the above ground storage of fuel on farms.

These guidelines describe the requirements for petrol and diesel. However, the requirements for petrol generally also apply to other fuels such as E10, E85, aviation gasoline, racing gasoline and kerosene.1

1.3 What is a farm?

In these guidelines, a ‘farm’ means an area of land at least four hectares (4ha) in size. The land’s main purpose must be agricultural. This includes dairy farms, horticulture, viticulture, and other similar industries.

If your agricultural property is less than 4ha in area, you must comply with the requirements for fuel storage at places other than farms. See Managing your hazardous substances.

1.4 What do these guidelines cover?

These guidelines can help PCBUs of farms meet the requirements of:

The Regulations set out minimum requirements for the storage of fuels on farms.

Some of these requirements (such as emergency response plans and secondary containment) are only mandatory under certain circumstances. However, it is good practice to always adopt these control measures.

These guidelines are grouped into six main topics areas:

  • knowing about fuel
  • the fuel storage area
  • fuel tanks
  • storing fuel in tanks
  • storing fuel in drums
  • emergency planning.

1.5 Everybody has responsibilities for work health and safety

Under HSWA, a PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its workers and make sure that other people are not at risk from its work. When you see ‘you’ in these guidelines, it refers to the PCBU.

For more information about the duties of a PCBU, see our special guide Introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

For instance, you must:

  • make sure that tanks are maintained so that the fuel tanker driver can deliver fuel safely
  • provide safe access to your farm for fuel tankers to deliver fuels safely.

Your workers must also take reasonable care for their health and safety, and take care to make sure their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.

Other PCBUs also have health and safety responsibilities relating to the delivery and storage of fuel on your farm.

For example:

  • tank and container manufacturers must make sure they manufacture tanks and containers that comply with the Regulations
  • importers who import tanks and containers for the purpose of storing fuel must make sure that the tanks and containers they import comply with the Regulations
  • fuel distributors or suppliers must provide safety data sheets (SDS) for the fuel they are providing
  • fuel distributors must make sure they act in ways that ensure people’s health and safety is not compromised. For example, if they believe a fuel tank or container is unsafe, they must not fill it.

You must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other PCBUs you share duties with so that all PCBUs can meet their joint responsibilities.

2.0 Knowing about your fuels

Workers need to understand the physical, health and environmental hazards of fuel.

2.1 Get an SDS for your fuel from your supplier

You must obtain an SDS from your supplier. The SDS will include advice on how to treat health effects from fuel exposure and how to prevent soil and water contamination.

2.2 Keep an inventory

Fuels must be included in your inventory of hazardous substances at your farm.

For each fuel, your inventory must include:

  • the name of the fuel (for example, petrol)
  • the UN Number if available (for example, UN 1203)
  • the maximum quantity likely to be held on site (for example, 2,000L)
  • the location of the fuel
  • any specific storage or segregation requirements (for example, store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from sources of ignition, oxidising agents, strong acids, foodstuffs, and clothing)
  • the current SDS or a condensed version of its key information.

You can use the Hazardous Substances Online Calculator(external link) to prepare your inventory.

For more information, see our quick guide Inventory requirements for hazardous substances.(external link)

2.3 Fire and explosion hazards of fuel

Petrol is highly flammable2 and can be easily ignited causing a dangerous fire. It has a lower flashpoint than diesel, which means it will ignite at a lower temperature. However, diesel3 can also cause dangerous fires that are difficult to put out.

2.4 Health hazards of petrol

Petrol vapours contain hydrocarbons, which are toxic to people.

Short-term exposure to petrol vapours can cause dizziness, feeling sick, headaches and vomiting.

Long-term exposure to petrol can cause brain or nervous system damage, and a higher chance of getting leukaemia – a cancer of the blood or bone marrow.

2.5 Health hazards of diesel

Diesel can cause dry or cracked skin if you often get it on your skin. It can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation if you breathe in diesel vapours.

2.6 Environmental hazards of fuel

Both petrol and diesel are classified as ecotoxic in the aquatic environment.This means they are toxic to organisms that live or swim in water. They can also contaminate the soil.

Care needs to be taken to ensure any fuel spills or leaks do not enter water bodies such as ground water, lakes, ponds, ditches, rivers or streams.

2.7 Training

You are responsible for making sure your workers have received the training, information, and instruction they need to safely handle, use and store fuels on your farm.

In general, workers need to be:

  • shown where fuels are stored and given information about the harm the fuels can cause and how the workers can keep themselves safe
  • shown how to safely dispense the fuel
  • shown where information about how to safely handle and store the fuel is kept, including where the SDSs are
  • trained about the actions they need to take in an emergency – whether it is a fire, a fuel spill or a medical emergency.

You must keep records about the training and instruction you give your workers.

These records, which could be a note in your notebook, must be made available to an inspector or compliance certifier on request.

2.8 Supervision

In addition to training, you should supervise new workers using fuel on your farm to ensure they are following the correct procedures that will protect themselves from any risks to their health and safety.

This should be documented and recorded as outlined in Training above.

For more information, see our quick guide Information, training and instruction(external link) for workers handling hazardous substances.

3.0 The fuel storage area

Fuel storage areas must be separated from people, ignition sources and other hazards to minimise the risks of a fire.

3.1 Separation distances

Because fuels are flammable, there are minimum distances needed between where they are stored and other buildings or activities.

The set minimum distances vary according to the fuel being stored and the type of storage.

For example, there are different requirements for:

  • petrol stored in tanks
  • petrol stored in drums
  • diesel stored in steel tanks
  • diesel stored in plastic tanks.

Tables 1 and 2 provide you with a summary of:

  • the legal requirements which must be followed (M) and
  • good practice (GP) guidance (which is not mandatory to follow but is recommended).

Farms producing food products may have additional requirements relating to proximity of bulk fuel storage to certain areas. For example, bulk fuel storage must not be within 20m of a farm dairy (as per NZCP1 requirements under the Animal Products Act 1999).

In addition, fuel should not come into contact with stock food, animal health products or drinking water sources at any time, including spills.

3.2 Storing petrol in tanks or drums

Keep fuel stores away from Example(s) Distance from the storage of less than 2,000L of petrol5
    In tanks In containers of less than 250L
Combustibles
  • Hay
  • Wooden buildings
  • Wooden platforms
6m (M) 6m (GP)
Other hazardous
substances
  • Pesticides
  • Fertilisers
  • Cleaning agents
6m (GP) 6m (GP)
Public places
  • Including public roads
6m (GP) 6m (GP)
Protected places
  • House, residential building, livestock building, packhouse or any building or open area where large numbers of people are likely to gather
20m (M) 15m (M)
Other buildings
  • Farm sheds
6m (M) 6m (GP)
Property boundary   6m (GP) 6m (GP)
Obstacles,
obstructions, rubbish,
or vegetation cover
  3m (GP) 3m (GP)

Table 1: Separation distances for the storage of petrol on farms

If 2,000L or more is stored at the location, different separation distances apply, and a compliance certificate will be required. For more information, see Location compliance certificate.

3.3 Storing diesel in steel tanks

A 2,500L diesel tank must be located at least 2m away from a protected place, such as house or public building.

There are no separation distances specified to sources of ignition or hazardous areas.

3.4 Storing diesel in plastic tanks

Plastic fuel tanks can be used to store diesel on farms. The following minimum separation distances must be complied with.

Keep fuel stores away from Example(s) Distance from diesel stored in plastic tanks
Combustibles
  • Hay
  • Wooden buildings
6m (M)
Other hazardous
substances
  • Pesticides
  • Fertilisers
  • Cleaning agents
6m (M)
Protected places
  • House, residential building,
    livestock building, packhouse
    or any building or open area
    where large numbers of
    people are likely to gather
45m (M)
Other buildings
  • Farm sheds
6m (M)
Property boundary   20m (M)
Obstacles, obstructions,
rubbish, or vegetation
cover
  3m (M)

Table 2: Separation distances for the storage of diesel on farms in plastic tanks

For more information, see Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances(external link)
 – Polyethylene Above Ground Stationary Tanks for Diesel Fuel) Safe Work Instrument 2017(external link)

3.5 Ignition sources

Ignition sources are anything that could ignite fuel vapours. A plastic diesel tank must be located at least 6m away from an ignition source but other fuel tanks must be at least 15m away from ignition sources.

Ignition source Example
Naked flames
  • Fires
  • Incinerators
  • Welding torches
  • Lit cigarettes
Sparks from tools
  • Grinders or tools that could cause sparks, such as metal drills
Electrical appliances
  • Fittings such as switches, lights, three-pin plugs and
    switchboards
  • Electrically-powered tools or machines
  • Electric fence controllers
  • Overhead powerlines
  • Batteries
Running engines
  • Engines such as compressors or freezer motors
Static electricity
  • A large static electricity build-up will release a spark, which can
    cause a fire

Table 3: Example of ignition sources

[Image] required distances for petrol storages areas.
Figure 1: Required distances for petrol storage areas
[Image] Required distances for diesel in plastic tanks.
Figure 2: Required distances for diesel in plastic tanks

3.6 Hazardous areas around fuel storage

A hazardous area is an area where explosive vapours may be expected to be present in such quantities as to require special precautions for the construction, installation, and use of equipment.

For information on hazardous areas and how to manage them, see Appendix 4.

Hazardous areas are not required for diesel.

3.7 Secondary containment

A secondary containment system is a physical barrier or container that can hold the contents of tanks or drums in case they spill or leak. Secondary containment includes double skin tanks, drip trays, compounds, and bunds.

You do not need a secondary containment system if you store, at a single location, on your farm:

  • less than 2,500L of fuel in a tank or
  • less than 2,000L of fuel in drums.

However, the tank or drums must be located so that spills will not endanger buildings or water bodies, like streams, lakes, or natural water.

Double skin tanks

A double skin tank’s outer skin is the secondary containment system.

The outer skin must comply with the secondary containment sizing requirements. They can only be used in specific locations. For details, see the Reduced secondary Containment for certain above ground stationary tanks – Safe Work Instrument 2017.

3.8 Compliance certificates

Compliance certificates are issued by compliance certifiers authorised to issue compliance certificates for locations or stationary container systems.

To find a compliance certifier, see Register of compliance certifiers(external link) on our website. 

Location compliance certificate

You must have a location compliance certificate if you store over 2,000L of petrol, at a single location on your farm.

Diesel does not require a location compliance certificate.

You do not need a location compliance certificate if you store less than 2,000L of petrol in a tank which:

  • meets certain safety requirements – check that the tank design is certified and that the tank manufacturer is a certified fabricator before you buy a new tank. You can check these by looking at our records Stationary containment system design and fabricator record
  • is situated at least 20m from any protected place
  • is situated 6m from any combustible materials
  • is in a compound or other place where spills will not endanger buildings or flow into any streams, lakes or natural water.

You do not need a location compliance certificate if you store less than 2,000L of petrol in containers that are:

  • secured in one or more containers each of which has a capacity of less than 250L
  • purpose-made UN or UL marked containers (note that old oil drums are not compliant)
  • stored in a compound or other place where spills will not endanger buildings or flow into any natural water bodies, like streams or lakes.

The containers must also be stored:

  • at least 15m from any protected place, and
  • in the open, or in a well-ventilated building.

Stationary container system (tank) compliance certificates

If you have a tank containing fuel, you may need a stationary container system compliance certificate to certify that your tank is safe and complies with the minimum legal requirements for fuel storage.

The thresholds above ground tank certification vary as follows

Above ground diesel tanks

Above ground tanks storing diesel or kerosene need a stationary container
system compliance certificate if the tank has a water capacity:

  • greater than 5,000L
  • of 60L or over and is connected to a burner (including a heater or boiler) or
  • of 500L or over and is connected to a stationary engine.

Above ground petrol tanks

Tanks storing need a stationary container system compliance certificate if the tank has a water capacity:

  • over 2,500L in volume, or
  • over 50L in volume and connected to a stationary engine.

3.9 Signs

You must have signs if you hold more than 2,000L of petrol or 1,000L or more of diesel at a location on your farm.

Signs must be:

  • made of a durable material that will not easily fade
  • in plain English
  • readily understandable with the information (correct words and pictograms) clearly visible and legible from at least 10m away under varying conditions (for example, rain or poor light).

Note: A tank label can serve as signage, but it must contain the word HAZCHEM.

Signs for the storage of petrol

If you hold more than 2,000L of petrol in an area, you must position a hazard sign immediately next to the area.

[image] Illustration of a petrol sign.
Figure 3: An example of a petrol sign

Signs for the storage of diesel or kerosene

If you hold more than 1,000L of diesel or kerosene in an area, you must position a hazard sign immediately next to the area.

[Image] Illustration of a diesel sign.
Figure 4: An example of a diesel sign

For more information, see our quick guide Hazardous substances signage(external link)

3.10 Tank labels

Tanks must be labelled to clearly identify:

  • what each fuel tank contains
  • the hazard pictograms and hazard statements consistent with the correct classification of the contents and
  • the steps to take to avoid unintended ignition of the fuel.

It is also good practice to include information about what to do in an emergency and information for Fire and Emergency NZ if a fire involving the fuel were to occur.

Labels should be at least A3 in size and positioned so they can be easily read from ground level.

Split tanks or combination tanks must clearly identify the products they hold.

A clearly identified tank will prevent incorrect product mixes at delivery or when you are using the fuel.

Figures 5 and 6 are examples of labels for diesel and petrol tanks that meet the regulatory requirements and also give information about what to do in an emergency and information for Fire and Emergency NZ.

For other fuels, see our quick guide Labelling, decanting and repackaging(external link)
hazardous substances in the workplace.(external link)

Note: If the label is also serving as signage, it must contain the word HAZCHEM (see Signs).

[Image] Label for a diesel tank.
Figure 5: Example label for a diesel tank
[Image] Label for a petrol tank.
Figure 6: Example label for a petrol tank

4.0 Fuel tanks

Your fuel tank must be in good condition and you must make sure access to your tank is without risks

4.1 Tanks – structure and safety

Your tank should:

  • be well maintained, free from rust and damage and painted if made of a material prone to corrosion
  • have no major dents or cracks
  • be stable with a minimum of four legs on the support structure that are braced and in good condition
  • be well secured to the support structure
  • have footpads of sufficient size on the support structure and be level with the ground and not buried
  • have a sound and secure access, such as a ladder (with all rungs present, no rust and suitable handrails)
  • have a proper nozzle with trigger valve mechanism
  • have a hose in good condition with no leaks
  • have an isolation valve on the tank outlet before the dispensing hose
  • have a fill point clearly visible from the ladder
  • have an air vent that is clear and not obstructed
  • have a label identifying its contents
  • have the manufacturer’s name on the tank if it was manufactured after 2004
  • be in a clear area that is not used to store material or machinery.

Figure 7 shows a safe above ground fuel tank.

[Image] A safe above ground fuel tank on a farm.
Figure 7: A safe above ground fuel tank on a farm

4.2 Foundations for tank supports

The legs or cradles of a tank should be mounted on adequate foundations. The foundation requirements for tanks are specific to the:

  • size of the tank
  • volume it holds
  • seismic and wind requirements.

Check with the tank manufacturer for guidance on the foundation that is required for your tank.

Tanks should not be located on dirt if there is a risk that spills will endanger buildings or water bodies, like streams, lakes, or natural water.

The feet should be level, and on top of the ground or concrete. Do not bury the feet or let them get buried because this leads to rapid corrosion of the feet and makes it difficult to check their condition.

4.3 Tripod tanks

The manufacture of tanks with tripod stands was stopped in 1996. These tanks do not meet current design specifications. There have been a number of incidents involving old tripod tanks.

On the farm, you are responsible for keeping yourself, your workers, and other people healthy and safe. This includes making sure tanks are safe and will not cause an incident resulting in harm to you, your workers, delivery drivers or others.

As tripod tanks only have three legs, it is critical that all elements are in sound condition. In particular, the foundation/ground must be sound.

Fuel distributors have a primary duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of themselves and others is not at risk. Fuel distributors should refuse to fill any tank that they believe is unsafe.

It is not safe or appropriate to install tripod tanks on new stands. Installing a new stand will invalidate the original design approval – these approvals make sure any new tanks manufactured are safe.

If your tripod tank needs work beyond painting, replacing hoses or valves or other general maintenance, you will need to get a new tank.

Your fuel distributor may be able to help you source a safe and compliant replacement tank.

4.4 Rust and tanks

Rust can have a major impact on the soundness of a tank and the tank’s support. It can affect the safety of the tank.

Rust on tank supports

Rust has a major effect on the support stand’s strength.

Major areas of concern for rust are:

  • at the connections, bolts, welded points and main contact support to the tank
  • at all welded joints, especially between the ladder rungs and the legs
  • on welded sleeves used on some models to fit legs or spreaders
  • at the joints between the feet and legs (this is why it is important that the feet are not buried)
  • on the feet.

The key to preventing rust damage is good maintenance. Remove rust as soon as it appears with a wire brush, and repaint with a rust-inhibiting undercoat and topcoat.

Care needs to be taken when removing rust so that sparks are not generated.

If there is significant rusting, the tank should be inspected to confirm that the tank supports are structurally sound. Contact the tank manufacturer, a competent person such as a structural engineer, or your fuel distributor for advice.

Rust on fuel tanks

Rust has a major impact on a fuel tank’s soundness. Areas at risk of rust damage are:

  • on the top of tanks, especially if they are cylindrical tanks mounted on end
  • on the underside
  • around the fill point and drain plug
  • on the welded seams
  • at the joints between the tank and supports
  • at the joints between the feet and legs
  • on the feet.

Dry surface rust or shallow pitting will not affect the tank’s structural integrity or ability to contain fuel safely. However, if you find evidence of deep pitting, or rust, you should have the tank inspected by a person qualified for this work.

Rust and fuel quality

It is important to minimise rust in fuel by keeping the storage tank in good condition.

4.5 Safe access

You must have sound and secure access to overhead tanks. This access may be by a fixed walkway or a ladder.

Walkways should comply with AS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, construction and installation.

The safest ladders are fixed ladders attached to the tank support stand. Sometimes free-standing (portable) ladders are also used.

Ladders should be trade or industrial standard with a rating of either 120kg or 150kg and comply with the AS 1892.1 Portable ladders, Part 1: Performance and geometric requirements. They should also be structurally sound, and free from clutter or plant growth.

Fixed ladders

There have been several incidents where fuel drivers fell from free-standing ladders while filling tanks. Because of this, we recommend fixed ladders on farm fuel tanks.

Fixed ladders must be safe, robust, and secure. Check that all the ladder rungs are present and are free of damage and corrosion. It is important to remove any rust on welded joints between the ladder rungs and supports.

If the ladder is attached to a support stand leg, position the ladder directly below the tank’s handholds.

Fixed ladders attached to tank supports should have handrails (see Figure 7).

Free-standing (portable) ladders

If it is not practicable to have a fixed ladder, free-standing ladders must be on stable footing away from obstacles. You must provide a flat, clear, and solid surface for free-standing ladders.

Do not use free-standing ladders on tripod tanks.

4.6 Tank ventilation

Tanks must be ventilated. Ventilation prevents splashback during filling, and unsafe pressure or vacuums developing in the tank.

The ventilation pipe and any gauze must be kept obstruction-free and in good condition.

4.7 Fittings, pumps and hoses

Use fittings, pumps, and hoses carefully, and keep them in good condition. This will help prevent spills or leaks.

Make sure the hose is made of a material that is compatible with the fuel. Replace the hose if it shows signs of deterioration.

Have an isolation valve on the tank outlet before the hose so you can isolate the tank contents if the hose or nozzle leaks. The isolation valve should be fire-safe and suitable for the purpose.

Fit the hose with a proper fitting nozzle with a trigger valve.

Fittings, pumps, valves, and hoses should not leak. If they do, repair, or replace them.

4.8 Delivery tank wagon access to fuel storage

You must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the means of entering and exiting your farm are without risks to the health and safety of any person. You must make sure your farm has safe access for fuel delivery. This includes safe all-weather entry and access to your property. The access must also be kept in good repair.

Trim overhanging trees to avoid damaging the delivery tank wagon. Take care with any overhead power lines when trimming trees. For more information, see our guidance Power lines on rural properties.

Discuss the best access and requirements with your fuel delivery company.

Make sure everyone on the farm is aware of the potential hazards when a delivery tank wagon is on-site. Let everyone know when the delivery tank wagon will arrive.

Bridges and culverts

If the delivery tank wagon will need to go over a bridge or culvert to access the fuel storage, they must be able to take the weight of a fully-laden delivery tank wagon.

If there is doubt, you should supply evidence that bridges and culverts can hold the necessary traffic.

Access between the delivery tank wagon and the fuel tank

Plan for turnarounds, so the delivery tank wagon does not have to reverse to the fuel site. This minimises difficult manoeuvring.

Have a good clearway between the delivery tank wagon and the fuel tank’s filling point. Do not have obstacles, such as rubbish and machinery, within 3m of the tank legs. This means the driver can safely move between the tank wagon and the tank ladder.

Access to the fuel tank fill point

Clear the tank delivery fill-point of anything that could prevent the delivery hose nozzle from completing inserting into the tank.

Make sure the driver can open and access the dip and fill points from the ladder without stretching to reach. Drivers should not have to climb off the ladder, or on to the tank, unless a suitable access platform is available.

The driver should be able to see into the fill point clearly from the ladder while refuelling the tank.

4.9 Trailer tanks

Trailer tanks are a way to transport up to 2,000L of fuel. However, not all fuel storage containers can be put on a trailer and used as a trailer tank. The Regulations set a number of requirements(external link) about the design, construction and way the tank is installed onto a trailer.

Check with your supplier that any trailer tank you purchase meets the requirements. There should be a manufacturer’s plate on the trailer tank.

When you buy a trailer tank, the supplier should make sure the tank has the correct dangerous goods label on the tank. Over time this may become damaged or faded. You must make sure the placard remains readable and clear.

4.10 Managing old tanks

Non-compliant, disused, or obsolete fuel tanks can be a risk to the safety of people and the environment. These tanks should be decommissioned by a competent person to avoid contamination. They should not be on-sold for storage.

For more information on managing old tanks, see Appendix 5.

5.0 Storing fuel in tanks

The storage of fuel in tanks must meet certain regulatory requirements.

5.1 Storing petrol in tanks

The requirements for storing petrol in above ground tanks are summarised in Table 4.

AMOUNT OF PETROL STORED (L) 50 100 200 250 1,000 2,000 2,500+
Safety data sheets (SDS) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inventory Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Labels Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Petrol must be secured Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Training and supervision Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hazardous areas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fire extinguishers (number) 1 1 2 2 2 2 2
Signs - - - - - Yes Yes
Emergency response plans6 - - - - - Yes Yes
Secondary containment - - - - - - Yes
Location compliance certificate - - - - - Yes Yes
Stationary container system compliance certificate Yes7 Yes7 Yes7 Yes7 Yes7 Yes7 Yes8

Table 4: Storage requirements for storing petrol in fuel tanks

5.2 Storing diesel in tanks

Note: The requirements for storing diesel in above ground tanks are summarised in Table 5.

AMOUNT OF DIESEL STORED ON A FARM (L) 60 250 500 1,000 2,000 2,500+ 5,000+
Safety data sheets (SDS) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inventory Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Labels Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Diesel must be secured No No No No No No No
Training and supervision Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hazardous areas - - - - - - -
Fire extinguishers (number) - - 2 2 2 2 2
Signs - - - Yes Yes Yes Yes
Emergency response plans9 - - - - Yes Yes Yes
Secondary containment - - - - - Yes Yes
Location compliance certificate - - - - - - -
Stationary container system compliance certificate Yes10 Yes Yes11 Yes12 Yes12 Yes12 Yes12

Table 5: Storage requirements for storing diesel in fuel tanks

6.0 Storing fuel in drums

The storage of fuel in drums must meet certain regulatory requirements.

6.1 Storing fuel in drums or containers

It is good practice to make sure any fuel drums and containers are stored at least 6m away from:

  • combustibles, such as hay
  • any other hazardous substances.

Drums and containers of fuel, other than diesel, should also be stored at least 6m from:

  • public places
  • other buildings
  • the property boundary.

6.2 Storing petrol in drums

The requirements for storing petrol in drums or other containers with a capacity less than 250L are summarised in Table 6.

AMOUNT OF PETROL STORED ON A FARM IN DRUMS (L) 50 200 250 1,000 2,000
Safety data sheets (SDS) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inventory Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Labels Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Petrol must be secured Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Training and supervision Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hazardous areas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fire extinguishers (number) 1 2 2 2 2
Signs - - - - Yes
Emergency response plans13 - - - - Yes
Secondary containment - - - - Yes
Location compliance certificate - - - - Yes

Table 6: Storage requirements for petrol in containers with a capacity less than 250L

6.3 Storing diesel in drums

Table 7 gives you a summary of the control measures to comply with when you store certain amounts of diesel in drums or other containers with a capacity less than 250L.

AMOUNT OF DIESEL STORED ON A FARM
IN CONTAINERS (L)
50 500 1,000 2,000
Safety data sheets (SDS) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Inventory Yes Yes Yes Yes
Labels Yes Yes Yes Yes
Training and supervision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hazardous areas - - - -
Fire extinguishers (number) - 2 2 2
Signs - - Yes Yes
Emergency response plans14 - - - Yes
Secondary containment - - - Yes
Location compliance certificate - - - -

Table 7: Storage requirements for diesel in drums

6.4 Storing diesel exhaust fluid

Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF)15 is often stored on farms in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or other containers.

Keep containers of DEF securely sealed and protected against physical damage and at least 1m from the diesel tank.

Empty containers must be decontaminated in accordance with all label safeguards until the containers are cleaned and destroyed.

7.0 Get prepared for a fuel emergency

You need to be prepared so that you and your workers know what to do if an emergency occurs on your farm.

7.1 HSWA emergency plan

You must have an emergency plan for your farm.

An emergency plan is a written procedure telling people in a workplace what to do in an emergency. For more information, see our fact sheet Emergency plans(external link)

Your workers must be trained so that they know:

  • what to do
  • who is responsible for what if an emergency were to occur and
  • when and how to use fire extinguishers.

If fuel spills or leaks, the prime concern is the safety of people nearby. If anyone is injured, make sure they receive first aid or medical treatment.

You must have a general emergency plan for your farm. In addition, if you hold more than 2,000L of fuel you will need a specific hazardous substances emergency response plan (ERP).

However, it is recommended that your general farm emergency plan should include all the information you need to respond to a hazardous substances emergency on your farm.

Note: Regardless of the amount of fuel you have on your farm, you may need a hazardous substances ERP because of other hazardous substances present.16

7.2 Hazardous substances emergency response plan (ERP)

You must have an ERP if you store over 2,000L of fuel on your farm.

For information on preparing and testing an ERP, see our guidance Emergency plans.

Emergency Response Flipchart at: www.hazardoussubstances.govt.nz(external link)

7.3 Fire

If there is a fire, raise the alarm – phone Fire and Emergency New Zealand on 111.

  • Fight the fire only if it is safe to do so.
  • Make sure people are in a safe area.

Do not put yourself or others at risk.

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are used to put out a fire before it reaches the fuel, therefore preventing a more dangerous situation.

Tables 4, 5, 6 and 7 set out how many fire extinguishers you must have depending on the different amounts of fuel you store. But even if you are not required to have them, it is good practice to always have a fire extinguisher near to where you store fuel.

For information on the number of extinguishers you should have for other fuels, see our quick guide Hazardous substances that activate key safety controls.

Your workers should know how to use fire extinguishers, but they should only use them when it is safe to do so.

Type of extinguishers

Your fire extinguishers must have a rating of at least 30B. You can find this information on the side of your fire extinguisher. A 2kg dry powder or 9L foam fire extinguisher meets these requirements.

Inspect your fire extinguishers every year, and get them pressure tested every five years.

A Register of test stations is available on the WorkSafe website.

Where to place fire extinguishers

Your fire extinguishers must be clearly visible and accessible near where the fuel is stored.

7.4 Fuel spills and leaks

Stop the spill or leak at the source if it is safe.

Then:

  • stop the fuel escaping to drains or waterways
  • clean up the spill if it is safe to do so
  • contact your fuel supplier or council about getting rid of contaminated material.

Tell your local council about any fuel spills on your property, especially if the spill endangers a waterway. Most councils have an emergency pollution hotline you can call. This number should be recorded on your emergency plan.

With petrol spills, take special care not to ignite petrol vapours.

Cleaning up minor spills (less than 200L)

You should follow these steps to clean up a fuel spill of less than 200L:

  • keep anyone not cleaning up the spill away
  • wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • stop the spill or leak at the source if it is safe to do so
  • stop the spill from spreading by using absorbent materials such as sand, soil or spill containment socks. Remember that spilt fuel must not get into any body of water, including storm-water drains
  • clean up the spill using your spill kit
  • dispose of all the fuel and contaminated clean-up materials according to the directions on the SDS
  • clean your PPE after use.

You should also think about why the spill happened and review the farm’s procedures so that it will not happen again.

Spill kits for fuels

Generally, your spill kit should contain the items set out in Table 8.

Equipment Examples include
PPE Such as:
  • overalls
  • gumboots
  • gloves
  • goggles
  • facemasks
Spill handling
equipment

Such as a broom and a plastic shovel.

Do not have metal shovels as they can spark, which is dangerous when you are cleaning up a fuel spill

Spill containment equipment
  • drain guards
  • barriers
  • drip pans
  • absorbent material, like absorbent pads, dry sand, vermiculite, zeolite, or spill containment socks
Leak-proof disposal container to put the waste in once the spill is cleaned up

Table 8: Spill kit items

Make sure everyone knows where the spill kit is kept and how to use it.

Cleaning up major spills (200L or more)

Do not try and deal with the spill yourself.

Evacuate the area, put barriers up to keep people out and alert Fire and Emergency NZ.

Make sure you have your inventory and the correct SDSs to give to emergency services workers.

7.5 Notifying WorkSafe

You must let WorkSafe know if one of the following events occur as a result of work:

  • a death
  • notifiable illness or injury (includes the loss of consciousness or sudden illness caused by exposure to any substance)
  • a notifiable incident (these are incidents that expose someone to a serious risk such as leakage of a substance and implosion, explosion, or fire).

For more information, see our quick guide What events need to be notified?(external link)

To notify WorkSafe, go to: Notify WorkSafe

Footnotes

  1. You can use the hazardous substances calculator(external link) to work out the requirements for various fuels.
  2. HSNO class 3.1A, GHS flammable liquid Category 1.
  3. HSNO class 3.1D, flammable liquid Category 4.
  4. HSNO class 9.1B, hazardous to the aquatic environment chronic Category 2.
  5. The requirements in Table 1 relate to locations on farms where the combined quantity of each class 3.1B or 3.1C pesticide or veterinary medicine, or any petrol, aviation gasoline, or racing gasoline stored at the location is less than 2,000L.
  6. Refers to specific hazardous substance response plans. General emergency response plans are always required.
  7. Stationary container system certificate required when 50L or more of petrol is stored in an above ground tank that is connected to a stationary engine.
  8. Above ground tanks require stationary container system certificate when they store 2,500L or more of petrol.
  9. Refers to specific hazardous substance response plans. General emergency response plans are always required.
  10. Stationary container system certificate required when 60L or more of diesel stored in an above ground tank connected to a burner (does not include burners and tanks for heating a farm dwelling).
  11. Stationary container system certificates required if 500L or more of diesel is stored in an above ground tank connected to a stationary engine.
  12. Above ground tank storing diesel require stationary container system certificate at 5,000L or more.
  13. Refers to specific hazardous substance response plans. General emergency response plans are always required.
  14. Refers to specific hazardous substance response plans. General emergency response plans are always required.
  15. DEF is classified as skin corrosion/irritation Category 3 (6.3B), eye irritation Category 2A (6.4A), acute vertebrate hazard Category 3 (9.3C).
  16. You can use the hazardous substances calculator(external link) to work out if you require an ERP.

Appendices

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Appendix 1: Glossary (PDF 32 KB)
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Appendix 2: Referenced documents (PDF 37 KB)
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Checklist for safe farm fuel storage (PDF 250 KB)
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Appendix 4: Hazardous areas (PDF 39 KB)
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Appendix 5: Managing old tanks (PDF 30 KB)