This is an article from the June Bulletin Issue written by Chris Ramshaw, Director, Hazardous Area Technical Training.

As an industry we have all witnessed or will have known someone who has put the wrong fuel in their vehicle. More often than not this occurs from distracted drivers instinctively picking up a nozzle and fuelling before they realise what has happened. These drivers, already flustered and frustrated, will find themselves speaking to site staff and asking them what to do next, who should they call how much will it cost etc. Who this person calls could range from a specialist fuel drain company all the way down to a local guy that the site operator knows who can come out with a pump and jerry can that he has bought from ebay.

Historically there hasn’t been a recognised symbol of quality that forecourt operators and the public could rely on. This is why the Roadside Fuel Recovery Standard (RFRS) was formed. A group of likeminded professionals recognised that there was no specific standard of vehicle that was being used to carry out fuel drains, and operators had various levels of training with some having no formal training or understanding of the hazards posed by fuel. This resulted in some operators performing extremely dangerous works on forecourts placing the public and other drivers at risk. Not only were they putting people at risk by the drain operations, but some would even take the fuel back to their homes where they would decant it and store it in back gardens or sheds.

To become a member of the RFRS, operators must meet a range of requirements ranging from the type of equipment that is used in the fuel drain process, the level insurance that they hold along with their staff holding an accredited SPA Mis-Fuel Passport. Unlike some operators in the marketplace the RFRS members do not give cash incentives to station operators, as this can lead to unscrupulous operators thinking of how to line their pockets rather than making sure that the stranded motorist is assisted by a competent professional.

When a forecourt operator signs up to work with the RFRS they get the piece of mind that any motorist who is unfortunate enough to mis-fuel will be dealt with in a professional way which will reflect positively for the station operator. The driver simply has to call the nationwide call centre on 03449 791 011, and after speaking with one of the specialist call handlers a local RFRS technician will be dispatched to the driver. All the fuel that is recovered is disposed of at a licensed premises where it can be safely stored and disposed of preventing any danger to the public or the environment. There is no cost for station operators to sign up to the RFRS, and all that is asked is that they display the RFRS information, so site staff know who to call in the event of a mis- fuel on site.

If you would like to become one of the growing number of station operators that are no longer willing to have unsafe fuel recovery agents working on their site contact us at the RFRS and we will welcome you to the team. Simply email us at or visit our website for more information.

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