Feeds

Mobiles and petrol stations do mix

Explosion risk something of a dead granny

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

It is well known to regular Register readers that mobile phones very dangerous pieces of equipment. If they aren't mashing your mojo, they'll be causing brain tumours or enticing you to plunge ten floors to your death in search of a better signal. Just. Plain. Evil.

Or so we thought. But it turns out that they are not quite so diabolical as all that. There is at least one place your mobile phone will not kill you: the forecourt of a petrol station.

We know, we know: a spark from the phone will ignite the fumes bringing all life as you know it to a fiery end. You've read about it, the petrol stations have those nice clear warning signs and you might even have seen it happen on an episode of CSI.

Phones don't kill people, people kill people

But researchers at the University of Kent now say this is not so. In the last eleven years there have been 243 petrol station fires worldwide attributed to mobiles. But according to a paper by Dr Adam Burgess, not a single one was actually caused by a spark from a mobile.

According to investigations by oil company BP, in many cases static electricity discharging from a person created the spark that triggered the blaze.

Burgess told the Press Association: "The petrol station/mobile phone story crosses into the realm of rumour and urban legend. It’s properly groundless, a story of health and safety gone mad."

The bans on using mobile phones at petrol stations were first brought in after the Piper-Alpha oil rig disaster, in which 167 oil-workers lost their lives. According to Burgess, the ban was not actually based on any evidence, but was a precautionary response to the disaster.

He added that there seems to be no desire on the part of UK health and safety officials or oil companies to clarify the situation.

In the mean time, you can only hope that your car doesn't give you a shock next time you fill up...®

Related stories

Deafening phone - Siemens issues health warning
Mobile phones rot your balls
Mobile phones are a pain in the neck
Mobile phones safe report

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.