Safety and petroleum spirit

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Please note that some of the advice we provide to businesses is chargeable.

Safety tips
  • Do not smoke when using petrol
  • Never fill the fuel tank of an internal combustion engine inside a building. Petrol fumes are explosive and narcotic
  • Do not fill the fuel tank of a petrol engine appliance while the engine is hot. Fuel spilt on hot surfaces (eg - a manifold) could spontaneously ignite.
  • Never use petrol as a fire lighting or fire refreshing medium. Petrol vapour can flash back and ignite containers and operatives
  • Never put or keep petrol in unsuitable containers. Some plastic containers will dissolve when petrol is put in them. Always use secure metal or approved plastic containers which are properly marked.
  • Be careful not to spill petrol onto clothing. Should clothing become contaminated be careful to keep away from any source of ignition and change clothes as soon as possible
  • Do not use petrol as a means of washing off grease or oil deposits from tools and equipment
  • Always store petrol safely, in proper containers, in a well-ventilated place, never under a stairway, in a passage or in domestic house. Ensure the storage is away from any source of ignition (eg - electrical equipment, heaters, etc.)
  • Keep petrol away from other combustible material
  • Never pour petrol into drains or water courses - it is a criminal offence to do so
Additional information

Metal containers should not exceed 20 litres capacity, be permanently labelled Petroleum Spirit - Highly Flammable and be fitted with a secure leak proof cap.

Plastic containers should not exceed 10 litres capacity to comply with the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regs 2014.

This advice is produced for the guidance of business. It is not intended to be a complete statement of law. For further help or advice with this, or any other Trading Legislation, please contact your nearest Trading Standards Office.