When talking to forecourt operators on the ’Roadside Fuel Recovery Standard’ (RFRS) stand at The Forecourt Show a couple of weeks ago, there was one fact they all found most surprising. It was that despite the customer who had mis-fuelled paying for the remediation service, they were legally responsible to ensure the works were carried out in a safe manner, and should the worst happen, not only could their site be damaged and closed for business, they may not be insured and could be liable to prosecution.

Regulation 11 of the Dangerous Substances Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) states: "Where two or more employers share the same workplace (whether on a temporary or a permanent basis) where an explosive atmosphere may occur, the employer responsible for the workplace shall co-ordinate the implementation of all the measures required by these Regulations to be taken to protect employees from any risk from the explosive atmosphere." Under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 their responsibilities extend to "persons not in his employment", such as members of the public and customers.

The second aspect that they were often amazed by was that through our application for a membership system, we had found that some mis-fuel companies had insurance policies that excluded them from working on petrol forecourts!

Over three years ago, on the realisation that forecourt operators were rarely aware of their legal duties, a group of responsible mis-fuel remediation companies formed a group and asked me to be their independent chairman. The aim was the creation of a ’standard’ through which forecourt operators could easily identify individuals or companies who would be safe and compliant when working on petrol forecourts.

To say that this has been a challenge would be a serious understatement. However, after a great deal of perseverance the ’standard’ now exists and is being adopted by forecourt operators

A list of RFRS members can be found at www.rfrs.org.uk. For further information, you can call 03449 791011.