Feeds

Mobiles and petrol stations do mix

Explosion risk something of a dead granny

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.