Friday, July 9, 2010

Community Report - GULF NEWS Dt. 09.07.2010 - Spilt fuel can have dire consequences

Community Report - GULF NEWS Dt. 09.07.2010 - Spilt fuel can have dire consequences

Community Report - GULF NEWS Dt. 09.07.2010 - Spilt fuel can have dire consequences

Unsafe practices at busy filling stations alarm reader

En route to Dubai from Abu Dhabi, when using the Saadiyat Island road, motorists have limited options to fill up their vehicles' petrol tanks once they leave the city.

Either they have to drive to Shahama — which is 40 kilometres away — or get to the major petrol station near Samha, which is 56 kilometres away from the city.

The rush of motorists in the afternoon is on the higher side, as there are many daily commuters who reside in Dubai and work in Abu Dhabi. This makes refuelling an issue, as there is a long queue at both these petrol stations during the afternoon and later on in the day.

On my frequent trips to Dubai, during different times, I have observed some significant safety-related issues and other matters that pose an inconvenience to the public. I wish to highlight them here.

Firstly, there is no petrol station on this stretch of road for about 40 kilometres — and any motorists leaving the city without enough fuel are bound to get stuck. Incidentally, there is no petrol station in the Mina area, too, which has significant heavy vehicle traffic and thus a petrol station at the exit of Mina or somewhere in the Mina area next to vegetable market or the animal market would be welcomed by all motorists who use this road.

Heavy rush

Secondly, I have noticed several times that due to the heavy rush, motorists often go to the wrong side of the petrol-filling units. The attending staff then have to stretch the hose to fill the tank.

The drivers mostly sit inside their vehicles while the petrol station attendants connect the hose and then rush to the next vehicle. The weather is extremely hot and due to the pressure, fuel is often spilled all over the place until someone points it out and asks the attendant to stop and reconnect the hose.

This is an extremely dangerous situation as the engines of vehicles are usually running and a mere spark from any possible source could definitely lead to a major disaster.

Witnessing one such occasion, I made an effort to talk to the station supervisor of a major petrol station near Samha on the way to Dubai and was told that the arrangements of filling on the wrong side, using extended hoses, has been initiated to reduce the rush.

Also, I did not find an effort to neutralise the fuel spilt using sand or any other precautionary safety measures. Only half a bucket of water was poured and the attendants were of the opinion that in the heat, it would evaporate quickly.

Using Gulf News' community report platform, I request the authorities to set up a petrol station in Mina area for the benefit of motorists and to also provide their staff with the necessary safety training. Safety equipment must be installed and made available at these units, too.

People should be given instructions not to leave their cars unattended if they are being filled at the wrong side of the petrol pump. Drivers also have a major role in ensuring safety as they have to keep an eye on the process and if there is any problem, should alert the staff immediately.

Safety is the responsibility of every individual. Let us not act after an incident has occurred — let us try and prevent it.

— The reader is a technical officer, based in Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS Online.

1 comment:

  1. Readers Comments

    Added 16:56 July 9, 2010
    what an excellent write up Ramesh. This shows that certain places need to set up petrol stations. It happens to me most of the time even when i want to fill petrol i head to the near by station and as most the cars have to wait in Que . As Anonymous stated that majority of the cars happen to have their Flling point on the right side so when the other side is empty i tend to ask the attendant to not waste time and so he pulls the pipe down to the other side of the tank. this saves a lot of time. How ever i have seen a lot of petrol stations that have placed boards that you need to switch off the engines when your filling petrol. now this is what we need to do .safety comes first. its as simple as that . but there are many who i see just keeping it on when the attended fills the petrol . this can be dangerous hazard.
    Mathew Litty, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Added 14:23 July 9, 2010

    Well there isn't a balance in the number of cars with filling point on Left/Right. Majority of the cars in UAE happen to have their filling point on the right side. Hence the heavy que on one side of the pump and empty on the other side. Thats the reason why the stations are now equipped with longer pipes to get the que moving fast. In UK we have the same long pipes and you can fill on either side. However the pipes seems to be more flexible to allow the driver to fill up their car even if the filling point is on the other side of the car. The attendants should be more concerned with spills. After all its hot leading the air to be explosive and cars hardly switched off during fill ups.
    Anonymous, Sheffield, United Kingdom

    Added 13:25 July 9, 2010

    Good point. I am surprised that no petrol station has been planned in Saadiyat and Yas, and also that there is no petrol station in the vast Mina area. This leads to extreme crowds at the Shahama and Samha station, sometimes there are queues of 20 cars for 1 filling spot. Abu Dhabi (island and highways) has a chronic shortage of fuel stations, fow refueling and washing cars.
    Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates