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Safety Uncertainty for Farmers Solved

7 November 2001 PR166/01
Safety Uncertainty for Farmers Solved

Years of uncertainty for farmers and fuel suppliers have been addressed by the production of the Safe Farm Fuel Storage Guideline says Colin Bull, Federated Farmers National Board Member.

"Guidelines for Safe Above-Ground Fuel Storage on Farms is the result of a collaborative effort between Shell, Mobil, BP and Caltex; Federated Farmers and OSH, said Mr Bull. "The Fuel Companies financed the Guideline project, Federated Farmers managed it, and OSH provided valuable input.

The purpose of the Guideline is to assist farmers and people delivering fuel to farms to evaluate and safely manage the hazards associated with above ground storage of fuel.

"The Guideline builds on, and expands, an OSH farming bulletin produced last year. Though the Guideline refers specifically to above ground storage, as distinct from underground storage the principles outlined in the Guideline can relate to all forms of fuel storage systems on farms.

"While there have been no serious accidents involving the delivery of fuel to farms the fuel companies there have been a number of potentially serious near misses. The fuel companies have been increasingly concerned about the poor state of some farmers' fuel tanks and were particularly concerned about 3-legged tanks.

"The biggest problem facing the fuel delivery companies was that if one of them refused to deliver to a farmer because their tank was dangerous the farmer concerned would use another fuel company, said Mr Bull. "It was on this basis that they approached Federated Farmers and OSH asking that a joint approach be taken.

Several unsuccessful attempts have been made over the last few years to develop an industry standard but to no avail. Then last year OSH, led by Ron Ward from OSH Whangarei, brokered an arrangement where Federated Farmers would manage a project under the name of "Farmsafe NZ" , financed by the four major oil companies, to compile and produce a Guideline. Bill Sewell managed this project for Federated Farmers.

The Guideline provides comprehensive guidance to farmers and fuel suppliers with respect to assisting farmers to determine if their fuel storage facility meets the required standard and procedures for evaluating and repairing farmers' fuel storage systems, including circumstances in which fuel suppliers can refuse to supply if the farmers' systems are not safe.

Copies of the Guideline will be provided free to farmers by their fuel suppliers.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Gavin Forrest, Federated Farmers, PH 04 473 7269 Bill Sewell, OSH, PH 04 299 0766 or 021 241 3559

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