Owning a gas station can be a profitable and rewarding business, but there are unique risks you need to manage to keep your customers, employees, and community safe. Fires, injuries, and chemical leaks leading to costly cleanups are chief among them. Follow these tips to protect your patrons, employees, business, and the environment.
- Check the breakaway connectors on your pumps to ensure they work
Breakaway connectors prevent your pumps from being pulled off their islands should a motorist fail to remove the nozzle from their vehicle before exiting the forecourt. These connectors enable the hose to break away from the vehicle when significant pressure or impact is applied to the hose.
2. Check the shear valves on your pumps for proper operation
When a pump becomes dislodged from its island due to force or collision, the shear valves under the pump engage to prevent leakage of gasoline onto the forecourt. In the event the shear valve is inoperable, or the situation becomes hazardous and all pumps need to be shut down, the main emergency cut-off switch should be activated immediately to stop leakage and prevent a possible explosion or fire.
3. Stay on top of your tank’s operating efficiency.
Staying on top of your supply levels not only keeps your customers happy and avoids downtime, but also the possibility of a costly cleanup. Leaks and spills don’t just damage the environment, they can also damage your reputation and erode your customer base. If a loss is detected, qualified personnel should be engaged immediately to determine the cause and scale of the loss, make the needed repairs, and when warranted, perform environmental abatement.
4. Avoid costly hazards with preventive maintenance
Regular inspection of your tanks for bores and piping for cracks will avoid needless outlays in the long run. All your equipment and components should be examined regularly for worn, cracked, and damaged parts, including checking your pumps for operational issues and miscalibrations. Adhering to a schedule of preventive maintenance will reduce annual repair costs and losses due to downtime and dissatisfied customers.
5. Prioritize code compliance
Avoid costly violations by keeping up to date with state, local, and federal regulations. This includes EPA requirements, storage tank operator training, state and local air quality regulations, fire codes, state water board regulations, building and electrical codes, and worker safety training. Codes and regulations constantly change. Avoid costly citations and penalties by staying current. A surprise inspection can happen at any time.
6. Make safety a priority
Make sure that your patrons turn their cars off during refueling, and your employees and vendors refrain from smoking, using matches, and lighters on the premises. Patrons should never enter their vehicles while refueling to avoid creating a static electrical charge that can ignite leaks and vapors. Warnings and precautions should be posted on every island. You should also make sure your staff is fully trained in incident prevention and management.
7. Keep indoor and outdoor areas secure
Keep a vigilant eye on everything that takes place at the pumps, fuel delivery area, parking lot, counter, and if applicable, your store and repair bays. Invest in high-quality indoor and outdoor lighting and security cameras. Well-lit areas and security cameras help deter would-be criminals and make all areas visible so your staff can address dangerous conditions immediately.
8. Safeguard your data from cyberattacks
Bad actors can breach your attack surface at any time. Secure your back-office and point-of- sale systems, tank-gauge payment systems, cloud banking systems, fleet management systems, and other infrastructure with the proper security. It’s critical to protect your wetstock, fuel network, and customer and business data from unauthorized access and misuse.
9. Be prepared for natural disasters
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and tropical storms are on the rise. As soon as you’re alerted to bad weather, make certain that pumps are anchored to their islands and your tank fill caps are tightly secured to prevent leakage. Print out vital electronic information and receipts you’ll need to restore your station once the disaster is over, then power down your equipment. Secure station equipment and signage that could blow away and cause potential harm or loss of life to pedestrians. Before resuming operation, engage your services professional to check your tanks and other equipment and systems, install new filters, check for underground leaks, and repair and replace any damaged components.
10. Partner with a full-service provider to keep your profits pumped up
Partner with an industry-leading team who can provide deep experience, cost effective, quality service and immediate response to make urgent repairs, conduct preventive maintenance, perform testing and compliance, and offer end-to-end solutions to keep your station up and running. The right business partner can help you avert disaster and remain a vibrant resource for your community.
Wayne Perry knows service stations
At Wayne Perry we have provided construction and maintenance services to the fueling industry since our earlier days. Customers like CostCo, Chevron, and Shell rely on Wayne Perry to deliver exceptional service on time at locations throughout the west.
To learn more, connect with our experts today.