If you organise or manage motorsport events, you need to know how to manage the risks of motorsport fuel to protect the health and safety of competitors, racing car support personnel, event officials, marshals and spectators who handle motorsport fuel, or may be exposed to its vapours or fumes.
What’s the risk?
Motorsport fuel is a fire and explosion hazard if it isn’t stored or handled correctly. It also gives off vapours, which can enter the lungs and cause damage.
Prolonged or repeated exposure to motorsport fuel vapours on the skin or eyes can also lead to irritation or dermatitis.
The risk of exposure to motorsport fuel vapours can’t be fully eliminated. Therefore you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Keep the amount of motorsport fuel you store both in the pit area and designated storage area to a minimum.
- If you’re running a sprint race, your competitors should only store a maximum of 40 L of motorsport fuel in their allocated pit paddock at one time.
- If you’re running an endurance race, your competitors should only store a maximum of 200 L of motorsport fuel in their allocated pit paddock at one time.
- During a rally event, competitors should only store enough motorsport fuel in their pit area to refuel their car during a single service. Any other fuel needs to be stored in a designated fuel storage area.
- At the end of each day of racing, move all fuel from the pit paddock to a designated fuel storage area or to a secure location off site.
- Check if you need a location compliance certificate. The hazardous substances calculator(external link) will let you know whether you need one.
- Try and keep the fuel in the container it was delivered in. These containers will be safe, compatible with the fuel and correctly labelled.
- If competitors bring their own fuel to the event, check that it’s in approved container. These containers will have a LAB registration number marked on them.
- Store fuel away from all ignition sources, such as naked flames, running engines, grinders or tools that could cause sparks.
- Adopt a no smoking policy throughout the venue to reduce the risk of fire.
- Have signs to warn people about the dangers of motorsport fuel. Signs are compulsory if you’re storing over 250L of motorsport fuel.
- Keep lids on your motorsport fuel containers to keep vapours inside.
PPE should include:
- Fire resistant overalls or clothing made from non-flammable material (eg wool, cotton) for marshals in charge of the fire extinguishers in pit lane and the service crew members involved in refuelling.
- Gloves to prevent fuel from coming into contact with the skin.
- Boots or closed-toe shoes with chemical resistant soles to protect feet in case of a spill.
- Balaclavas or helmets to reduce exposure to fuel vapours
- Safety goggles or full face helmet.
We recommend you follow these safe practices to prevent the risk of fire, and exposure to vapours.
- Only refuel in the vehicle’s pit area, not in pit lane.
- Competitors and crew members shouldn’t carry out any work on the vehicle until refuelling is completed.
- Always have at least two crew members who are doing the refuelling. One of these two members should be holding the fire extinguisher, and not be involved in any other activity.
- All crew involved in the refuelling, and any crew working on the quarter of the car where the refuel is occurring should wear PPE
- Don’t refuel in the competition safety gear to prevent contamination and exposure to vapours.
- Clean up any fuel spills immediately, if it’s safe to do so.
- Train your workers about what to do in an emergency. They also need to know where the safety and first aid equipment is stored and how to use it. Marshals and event personnel need to be briefed on the safety arrangements for spectators and participants. Spectators should be familiar with any warning sounds or signals, and know what they need to do in an emergency.
- Have a safety data sheet (SDS) for the fuel stored at your site, and keep this in a place where emergency services can easily access it.
- Have the required minimum number of fire extinguishers on site. Make sure these are visible and accessible in an emergency, and marshals and crew members are trained in using the fire extinguishers. Use the hazardous substances calculator(external link) to calculate how many fire extinguishers you need. Even if you don’t need one, it’s good practice to have them on site.
- Be prepared to deal with a spill or leak of fuel. For small spills, a spill kit may be enough to contain the spill. If you’re storing over 2000L of fuel, use the hazardous substances calculator(external link) to check the requirements for secondary containment.
- Have an emergency plan which includes information about how to respond to accidents, how to notify emergency services, and what kind of help you’ll need from emergency services if a major incident occurs. If you’re storing large amounts of motorsport fuel, you may need to include additional details in your emergency plan.
Use this checklist to help you develop your emergency plan.
See our quick guide:
For additional guidance:
- Use the hazardous substances calculator(external link) to help you work out whether you need extra measures like signs, fire extinguishers, secondary containment or location compliance certificates.
- See the practical guide to working safely with hazardous substances(external link).
- Use the emergency management flipchart(external link) to help you document your processes for a range of potential emergencies.