There are no specific legal requirements on how to store diesel or the quantity allowed either in workplaces or domestic premises. It is not, from a health and safety point of view, a particularly hazardous substance within the meaning of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 – its vapour flash point is high. Its vapour will not ignite at normal room temperatures. However, there are some general issues you’ll need to take into account when storing diesel:
No hot-work should be performed near the tank, such as welding, unless it is emptied and purged of any remaining vapour.
- The tank should always be bunded.
- The tank should be positioned away from any source of direct heat.
- The tank should be located in an area where there is no risk of collision with vehicles, fork-lift trucks etc. (diesel splashing onto a hot engine will probably ignite).
- Any leaks and spills outside of the bund should be contained and mopped up quickly.
- Refilling and dispensing activities need to take account of manual handling issues.
- You should ensure that your site insurer is aware that diesel is being stored on site.
While diesel is not a particularly dangerous substance from a health and safety point of view, it is environmentally hazardous, with considerable clean-up costs if it should leak into a drain, watercourse or the soil. It is therefore recommended that you contact the Environment Agency for further information, should you be unsure.
Environment Agency – Oil Storage Regulations provides guidance on oil storage; see Guide here.
if you store more than 200 litres of oil above ground (in one or more containers) at an industrial, commercial or institutional site, then these regulations will affect you.