Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

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alanp23
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Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby alanp23 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 07:34 am

Does anybody know why these are still banned from use on the forecourt?

I understand why there was an issues ten years ago, etc etc, but these days, the fact it is in my pocket transmitting and receiving data as I fill up, makes the ban pretty redundant, doesnt it?

Sussed out
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby Sussed out » Thu Jan 17, 2013 07:48 am

I guess it's like the phones on planes thing, it's not an issue anymore but they are cautious about testing it out in real life.

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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby beverick » Thu Jan 17, 2013 08:08 am

From the UK Petrol Industries Association:

"The use of mobile phones on UKPIA members’ forecourts is actively discouraged for several reasons:

Distraction - Using mobile phones can create a serious distraction for people dispensing fuel or crossing the forecourt due to the number of vehicles moving. Traffic movements will always present a risk for customers. However the distraction caused to pedestrians by mobile phones increases the risk of accidents.

Risk of incendive sparking - Mobile phones are not designed and certified for use in explosive atmospheres which exist temporarily around the pump and nozzle during refuelling as well as around the fill and vent pipes during petrol deliveries. Such use is expressly forbidden by law under the conditions of the petroleum licence and associated guidance. Whilst the risk of incendive sparking from mobile phones is low, they are not intrinsically safe devices and should not be used in those hazardous areas that exist on a forecourt. Generally,there is no need to restrict the use of mobile telephones in other areas of the forecourt, such as in the shop, in motor vehicles parked on the forecourt or in other non-hazardous areas."

I did find it amusing that the UKPIA lead with "....is actively discouraged" and only later change it to "....is expressly forbidden by law" - which really is the key part.

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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby ben@31 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 08:11 am

Naive people fear what they don't understand.

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alanp23
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby alanp23 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 08:33 am

Hmm... I get the bit about the petrol fumes around the nozzle.

But that implies that I really shouldnt have my phone switched on in my pocket as I dispense fuel. For a whole variety of reasons, that is probably the worse place for it to be.

My point, I think is that I think my smart phone is as much "on" just sitting switched on as it is when I am talking into it.

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Capt Slog
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby Capt Slog » Thu Jan 17, 2013 09:04 am

ben@31 wrote:Naive people fear what they don't understand.


Because the phones are not hermetically sealed, the internal electronics can come into contact with petrol fumes. If any electrical contacts are made/broken, there is always the chance of a spark, and so the risk of explosion. So, this is the use of any of the keys.
More of an issue though, is the little motor which spins if the phone is set to vibrate on ring, that's likely to be the biggest problem in terms of sparks.

There used to be an idea which came from some early incidents, that microwave radiation from the phone could maybe ignite petrol, but I think this has been dis-proven.
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Simmotino
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby Simmotino » Thu Jan 17, 2013 09:09 am

alanp23 wrote:My point, I think is that I think my smart phone is as much "on" just sitting switched on as it is when I am talking into it.


Which is why you are supposed to turn it off* whilst in the petrol station.

*No, I don't do it either

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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby tiredofwhiners » Thu Jan 17, 2013 09:55 am

If water can get into a phone, then petrol vapour can also get in....... potential fire hazard which is relatively easy to limit by saying 'do not use your phone'.

Refilling the fuel tanks while on the phone http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1ac_1320055088

Filling your own car while on the phone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gct1BmKNvU0

Most people obey the instructions, and we don't have many fires as a result. The problem as with all things is the people think the warnings of the past don't apply to them, when physics doesn't alter just because you have a 'better' phone.

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GiantMike
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby GiantMike » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:04 am

Does the massive sparking starter motor ever cause forecourt fires?

I thought the reason was to stop people being distracted rather than an ignition risk.
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alanp23
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby alanp23 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:05 am

Ta! All good stuff!

ben@31
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby ben@31 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:06 am

Capt Slog wrote:
Because the phones are not hermetically sealed, the internal electronics can come into contact with petrol fumes. If any electrical contacts are made/broken, there is always the chance of a spark, and so the risk of explosion. So, this is the use of any of the keys.
More of an issue though, is the little motor which spins if the phone is set to vibrate on ring, that's likely to be the biggest problem in terms of sparks.

There used to be an idea which came from some early incidents, that microwave radiation from the phone could maybe ignite petrol, but I think this has been dis-proven.


Rubbish. I doubt any of the electrics in the petrol station and your car are hemetically sealed. If petrol vapour goes past a ciruit board it wont catch fire. The odds of my phone sparking must be lower than the petrol station being hit by a meteorite.

Even hot exhaust pipes don't cause Tescos to catch fire (you'd physically have to pump petrol on to the hot exhaust pipe).

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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby laurentian » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:29 am

I would have thought the risk of the electrics within any given car engine, shorting, sparking, arcing and so forth would be far far greater than that from a mobile . . .
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby tiredofwhiners » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:45 am

GiantMike wrote:Does the massive sparking starter motor ever cause forecourt fires?


You mean that electrical thing that is heavily sealed to prevent water ingress to such an extent that you can immerse it in water and it'll still work ? Most of the electrics of a car are very heavily protected against the weather and water ingress and so are very much less likely to come into contact with fuel vapour - it wouldn't be much of a vehicle if fuel vapour leaked out all over the place and met an electric spark would it ?

A fuel stop has to accept the very limited risk of a car setting off a fire as the car has to be there to fill up and they do ask you to turn the engine off. Its completely unnecessary for a mobile phone to be used during refuelling process so the simplest and safest risk minimisation approach is to not use them.

The whole argument against sounds to me like a new generation who think the lessons of the past don't apply to them and their right to talk on the phone incessantly will somehow stop accidents from happening.

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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby ben@31 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:07 pm

tiredofwhiners wrote: You mean that electrical thing that is heavily sealed to prevent water ingress to such an extent that you can immerse it in water and it'll still work ? Most of the electrics of a car are very heavily protected against the weather and water ingress and so are very much less likely to come into contact with fuel vapour - it wouldn't be much of a vehicle if fuel vapour leaked out all over the place and met an electric spark would it ? :D


Or maybe the fuel vapour that's all over the place does not ignite.

Car electrics won't work underwater. Lots of terminals, especially earth/ground terminals are not hemtically sealed . Look at your car battery terminals, if you are lucky you may have a loose fitting rubber cup on the positive terminal (only to stop you from touching both the positive and negative terminal at the same time).

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team47b
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby team47b » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:56 pm

over here we have cafes at all petrol stations (that interestingly sell alcohol) and no smoking rules for cafes apply to petrol stations so you have to sit outside at a table on the forecourt to smoke :D
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tim wand
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby tim wand » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:58 pm

I would Imagine most Petrol Pumps talk back to the Cashier point by RF frequency and there may be a minimal risk of this signal being intefered with by a mobile phone.

ben@31
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby ben@31 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 13:08 pm

At airports, some aircraft are refuelled with the engines still running and radios transmitting. Not a problem.
Last edited by ben@31 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 17:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LangerDan
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby LangerDan » Thu Jan 17, 2013 13:15 pm

The ingress protection of electrical components (how you stop water, dust or inquisitive fingers from entering the device) and the hazard protection (how you stop it from igniting petrol fumes and burning your eyebrows off) are not the same thing.

Why the starter motor doesn't cause explosions is because it is too far from the vapour source. The area in the immediate vicinity of the filler cap is "baby bear's porridge" in terms of flammability - a continuous flow of displaced petroleum vapour from the filler neck, relatively sheltered by the car and your body to avoid immediate dispersion and mixing with just the right amount of air. By the time the vapour reaches the engine bay, it is far too lean to ignite.
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Pinno
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby Pinno » Thu Jan 17, 2013 15:39 pm

tim wand wrote:I would Imagine most Petrol Pumps talk back to the Cashier point by RF frequency and there may be a minimal risk of this signal being intefered with by a mobile phone.


In that case, can we set up an experiment where you fill up whilst soeone else talks on the mobile right next to a fuel pump and see if we can't diddle the bill ?
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Re: Mobile Phones at Petrol Stations

Postby Crescent » Thu Jan 17, 2013 17:49 pm

I work on an offshore oil/gas platform where the control of electrical equipment in hazardous areas is taken very seriously indeed. There are basically four zones : 0,1,2,safe. It is down to the likeliehood of flammable vapours being present and for what duration. Although it does not translate exactly into an onshore scenario, essentially the area round the filler nozzle whilst decanting fuel would be zone 0/zone 1 (high likeliehood) the area around the engine would most likely be zone 2 (less likely). The shop would be classified as a safe area as a rough comparison.
I would not use any battery operated equipment when refuelling, nor have it in my pocket. Electrical equipment does exist with the correct rating and ingress protection but it is not generally found in a non-industrial environment.

Jeez, I've bored myself with that reply. :oops:
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