With the number of mobile phones used in the industry, we thought it was appropriate to circulate the following information related to their use in potential explosive environments. (Article by Chris Lang, The China Post)
Switch off your mobile phone while filling your car with gasoline. This is the latest advice for mobile phone users and gas station attendants alike from the Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC), which has recently informed all its affiliates to be on the alert for people chatting on mobiles while pumping gas, a practice it asserts can cause explosions.
“There have been several explosions in Southeast Asia and Europe, and we hope similar tragedies can be avoided in Taiwan,” said David Tung from CPC’s main engineering division. According to a report released by Shell Chemicals, a driver in Indonesia suffered burns and his car was severely damaged when petrol vapor exploded after being ignited by static electricity from the mobile phone he was using. In Belgium, customers have been prohibited from using mobile phones within 10 meters of gas stations, and warnings are posted everywhere to remind people of the danger, according to a Belgian newspaper.
The threat mobile phones pose to gas station and their users around the world is largely due to their ability to produce sparks. These can be generated by the high-powered battery inside the phone, which is itself, a possible cause of fire. But the electromagnetic waves emitted by the phone are more than sufficient to create considerable static electricity that heats the surrounding air, and, if the flammable vapor is concentrated enough, causes an explosion. Mobile phone makers, Motorola, Ericsson, and Nokia, all print cautions in their user handbooks that warn against using mobile phones in “gas stations, fuel storage sites, and chemical factories.” In fact, if danger is to be avoided, all transmitting devices – not just mobile phones – should be switched off near gas stations and locations housing flammable substances.