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Fiji Times: Switch that phone off, Shell warns

Thursday, February 09, 2006
GLOBAL energy group Shell Oil has issued a worldwide warning against the use of mobile phones at service stations after three incidents were reported where ringing mobile phones ignited fumes during fuelling operations.
The three incidents, which happened overseas, all occurred at fuel bowsers.
One happened after a mobile phone rang while on a car's trunk lid during re-fuelling and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump while another person suffered burns to his face when fumes ignited as he answered a call while re-fuelling his car.
In the third incident, a man suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in his pocket, rang during re-fuelling at a bowsers.
Shell Fiji chief executive officer Peter Walsh said his company had spent time to educate its customers about the dangers of both mobile phone use and other safety issues surrounding the safe handling of fuel.
“Shell service station sites carry signage prohibiting the use of mobile phone and other hazards and pump attendants are required and trained to monitor this and other safety hazards such as smoking and ensuring vehicle engines are switched off during refuelling,” Mr Walsh said.
His field staff undertakes regular safety audits on their sites to ensure dealers and their staff are vigilant in enforcing these safety requirements.
Mr Walsh said Shell undertook a major safety campaign targeting the mobile phone use at service stations last year.
“It is sometimes difficult for the public to understand that it takes only the slightest spark to ignite petrol fumes and that any source of ignition be it a cigarette or spark from a mobile phone is all that is needed to cause serious injury,” Mr Walsh said.
Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition.
Part of the Shell warning is that mobile phones should not be used in filling stations or when fuelling lawn mowers, boats and other machineries.

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