• If applicable

Posted Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

The health and safety issue around tripod farm tanks has been around for some years now with committees such as Fuel Distributors Industry Safety Committee and WorkSafe highlighting the seriousness of such tanks.

The issue has come to the forefront again when a recent incident took place where a fuel tanker driver was called out to a farming property in New Zealand to fill their tank.  Upon trying to fill the tripod overhead farm tank, the tank collapsed mid fill with the root cause of this collapse being significant corrosion to the tank legs. Examples of such rust are shown in the images below.


Not only did the driver topple, but common in these circumstances are that farm equipment (such as cultivators, aerators, hay choppers etc) are in close proximity to the tank, in this situation is what lead to further injuries sustained by the driver when he landed on them.

To make sure an incident like this does not happen on your farm or worksite, as a matter of priority, we recommend that you:

  • check all your fuel tanks and support structures for signs of corrosion (rust) and metal fatigue and if there is rust or fatigue, consider tank replacement options
  • make sure all tanks are properly secured to a flat foundation
  • ensure the work area around each tank is safe, with a clear path free of obstacles.
  • ensure all tanks are maintained regularly both inside and out and that your tank is compliant.

WorkSafe New Zealand did release a document which aids as a guide to help farmers and workers to comply with health, safety and environmental laws when it comes to the safe storage of fuel in above ground fuel tanks.

WorkSafe Good Practice Above Ground Fuel Tank Book

While this guidance has not been updated to reflect current work health and safety legislation (the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and regulations), it may still contain relevant information and practices to keep workers and others healthy and safe.

Please read this guidance in conjunction with all relevant industry standards that apply to you as a PCBU. This guidance will be progressively reviewed and either updated, replaced with other guidance, or revoked.

If you have concerns feel free to contact WorkSafe, speak to one of our reps, or your local fuel supplier who can help you to ensure your operational environment is safe.


Resources through WorkSafe






Blog article by Praneel Lal

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