red fire extinguisher

At this time of year, you are most likely thinking it is time to get your generator out of the shed and check the fuel levels and operating condition in preparation for blackouts that may occur during the summer period.

Like with all machinery and equipment, safety must be a priority when it comes to operation and maintenance. Generators are no exception. When it comes to refuelling a petrol generator, safety precautions should be taken as petrol can be extremely dangerous and easily ignited if not handled correctly. Petrol vapours that are created by pouring or spilling can be easily ignited by static electricity or other ignition sources, potentially causing seriously injuries.

Tips to safely refuel petrol generators

When filling a portable generator it is important to remember the following:

  • Use approved fuel containers and funnels to reduce the risk of generating static electricity while decanting petrol.
  • Ensure suitable fire extinguishers are immediately accessible.
  • Ensure the generator is not switched on or running at the time of re fuelling.
  • Be informed of the hazards and control measures required to make fuel decanting safe.
  • Ensure portable generators are always placed on firm ground, in well-ventilated areas, away from heat and possible ignition sources.
  • Do not fill generators in low-lying areas where vapours could accumulate and increase the risk of ignition.
  • Do not fill generators inside a vehicle, trailer or surface that prevents the discharge of static electricity such as on a plastic surface.
  • Before filling the generator with fuel, check the generator is sitting on firm ground or earth and the person filling touches the generator and fuel filling container to ensure any build up of static electricity can be dissipated before starting the filling operation.
  • Ensure the container cap is replaced tightly on the filled generator before moving the generator.
  • Allow the motor to cool and ensure the generator is in an upright position in a well ventilated space before transporting.

Why use a petrol generator when diesel ones are safer?

Diesel powered generators do offer a safer alternative to petrol generators as diesel fuel is not flammable and won’t ignite. However cost and availability may be a deterrent for some people who may not be able to afford to buy and keep a diesel generator or may not have access to diesel fuel. A petrol generator can be as safe as a diesel generator just as long as the right safety measures are taken. You should always read the safety instructions in the owner’s manual about refuelling and be cautious when handling flammable chemicals or seek professional advice if you are unsure.