man filling up his mower with a fuel container

Spring Safety: Fuel Containers And Garden Equipment

Warmer weather and longer days may be a cause for celebration, but there’s some practical considerations to take care of first.

By Shell on Sep. 01, 2021

Because while spring might be a time to entertain, eat and play outside again, you might want to undertake a little spring cleaning first. That means lawns to be cut, hedges to be trimmed and decks and patios to be pressure cleaned.

For any of these jobs, chances are you’ll need to use at least one machine that requires fuel – the lawnmower is the most likely candidate, but equally you might have a petrol-powered hedge-trimmer, whipper-snipper or pressure washer. And before you can rev them up, you’re probably going to need to refill them, especially if they’ve been lying dormant since last summer.

Transferring fuel in a container from service station to household can be a straightforward task if you know what you’re doing, but it’s not without its dangers. Spillages or leaks could potentially put your safety, and the safety of those around you, at risk. So, here’s our handy guide to doing it as risk-free as possible.

Pick the right container

Long story short, petrol and diesel are highly flammable and/or dangerous substances and by law they need to be transferred in specific containers.

So forget using any old receptacle you’ve found in the shed and invest in a new container, looking for markings that show it’s manufactured to Australian Standard ASNZS:2906. If it it’s a fuel container that can hold up to 25 litres and conforms to this standard, it should be safe.

If you are set on reusing an old one, you should still check that it conforms to this same standard. At the same time, examine it for signs of rust, cracks, a leaking cap or other damage, and if any of these signs of wear and tear are present, buy a new one.

Fill up carefully

When filling up your container at the servo, you’ll need to follow the usual rules for refuelling a car – don’t smoke and don’t use your phone. Importantly, you must place your container firmly on the ground before filling to discharge any static electricity, which could cause a fire. Never leave a container in the car or back of a ute to refill. You should also keep one hand on the container while filling and add fuel slowly and carefully, stopping before the container is around 95 per cent full. Although you’ll need to monitor how much fuel you’re putting in, try not to bend down and get too close to the container opening as sometimes fuel splashes back – and a splash to the eye can be quite painful. If you accidentally overfill and spill fuel or get a splash onto yourself, be sure to let a site staff member know as soon as possible. When you’ve finished, make sure the lid or cap is tightly reattached before moving it.

Transport it safely

Getting your fuel container back home can be a puzzle to solve – if you have to store it in your boot, or worse still the cabin of your car, the fumes can be dizzying and potentially dangerous. So, if this is your only option, try to keep your journey as short as possible and keep your windows wound down.

A better option is to secure it in the back of a ute or on a trailer, if you have one, or to buy dedicated container holders. If it’s in the tray of a ute, just make sure it’s set well away from ignition sources or potential impact zones (check your state regulations for guidance).

Safe storage at home

Once you’ve refilled your equipment, what’s next? Be sure to tightly replace the lid and wipe down the container to remove any residue before putting it away. Fuel should not be stored at your property for long periods of time, but if you need to store it short-term, be sure to put the container in a well-ventilated, cool spot away from your house and any ignition sources.


Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.

Where information, recommendations, opinions or ideas have been sourced from third parties external to Viva Energy (Third Party Information), Viva Energy cannot be certain that the Third Party Information is accurate, current or complete, nor should a mention of any business, product, service or website of a third party be taken as a recommendation, approval or endorsement of, or warranty or claim regarding, that business, product, service or website.