Aviation fuel mini-bowser

The issue

Aviation fuel mini-bowser

The mini-bowser was a 2000 litre capacity elliptical tank designed for carrying aviation fuel. It was mounted on a double wheeled trailer with a diesel driven pump attached to the front A-frame. There were concerns about:

  • the fuel hoses and connections;
  • possible lack of earthing continuity;
  • risk of leakage;
  • diesel pump that was not designed for safe use in hazardous atmospheres.

The following defects were identified that could have potentially resulted in an explosion.

  • Ignition sources were present in close proximity to the fuel hoses.
  • The diesel motor was not designed for safe use in hazardous atmospheres.
  • The pump was essentially designed for water and there was potential for a major fuel leak over the pump body and the unprotected diesel motor.
  • There was the potential for the pump to run dry in service resulting in frictional heating of bearings and possible ignition of fuel vapour.
  • The couplings on the flexible hoses were of an unsuitable type and did not provide the necessary electrical connection to prevent the potential for ignition by spark.
  • The unsuitable hose couplings would not give reliable joint security.

What action should you take?

If you are a user of such equipment you should:

  • Ensure the equipment is appropriate to use in flammable atmospheres.
  • Follow relevant legislation and guidance on the safe use of such equipment.
  • Have procedures in place to maintain the equipment.
  • Have in place safe operating procedures including relevant training for people using the equipment.

If you are a manufacturer or supplier of such equipment you should:

  • Ensure that it complies with relevant legislation and British Standards.

Further information

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Updated 2023-04-25