Understanding AS1940: The Guide to Fuel Storage Compliance

12.12.2023 By Fuelfix Fuel Maintenance GO BACK

When it comes to the storage and handling of fuel in Australia, one word takes centre stage: safety. It’s a universal concern, transcending borders and industries. Regardless of where you are, ensuring that fuel is stored securely, minimising risks, and safeguarding the environment and people is a top priority.

In Australia, we commonly refer to the guidelines in an Australian Standard known as AS1940 (2017) : The Storage and Handling of Flammable and Combustible Liquids. It might sound technical, but it boils down to one simple principle: safety first.

In this guide, our aim is to explain AS1940 and make it accessible to anyone involved in fuel storage. We’ll break it down into plain language, highlighting why it matters and how it helps maintain safe fuel storage practices. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in the industry, this guide will help you navigate the world of fuel storage compliance without unnecessary jargon or complexity. So, let’s walk through this guide together, exploring AS1940 and understanding how it plays a crucial role in ensuring that fuel storage remains secure and compliant across the board.

The Importance of AS1940 Compliance

1. Safety First

AS1940 is designed with one primary goal: safety. Compliance with this Standard goes a long way towards protecting the lives of workers, the environment, and the community. It establishes strict protocols for the construction, installation, and maintenance of fuel storage facilities to minimise the risk of accidents and disasters.

2. Legal Obligations

Compliance with AS1940 isn’t just about safety; it’s also about meeting the legal requirements in relevant Regulations. Failure to adhere to these Regulations can result in hefty fines, legal consequences, and reputational damage for businesses. By understanding and following AS1940, you not only safeguard your operations but also ensure that you remain on the right side of the law.

Key Requirements of AS1940

1. Design and Construction

AS1940 mandates specific requirements for the design and construction of fuel storage facilities. It covers everything from the choice of materials to the size and placement of tanks. Compliance in this area ensures that your storage system is structurally sound and minimizes the risk of leaks and spills.

2. Fire Protection

Given the flammable nature of fuel (which varies by fuel type), AS1940 places a strong emphasis on fire protection measures. This includes fire-resistant materials, automatic fire suppression systems, and proper separation distances to prevent the spread of fire in the event of an incident.

3. Ventilation and Air Quality

Proper ventilation is critical to prevent the buildup of fumes and reduce the risk of explosions. AS1940 provides guidelines on ventilation system design and maintenance to ensure that the air quality within the storage facility is safe.

4. Spill and Leak Management

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s essential to have systems in place to contain and manage spills and leaks. AS1940 outlines the requirements for spill containment systems, including bunding and drainage, to minimise the environmental impact.

5. Training and Emergency Response

AS1940 places an emphasis on training for personnel involved in fuel storage and handling. Properly trained employees are more likely to follow safety procedures and respond effectively in the event of an emergency.

Achieving AS1940 Compliance

Compliance with AS1940 may seem daunting, but it’s achievable with the right approach. Here’s how to ensure your fuel storage facility meets the standard:

1. Understand the Standard

Start by thoroughly familiarising yourself with AS1940. It’s crucial to understand the requirements and how they apply to your specific situation. Consider seeking expert guidance if needed.

2. Conduct a Risk Assessment

Identify potential risks associated with your fuel storage facility. This assessment will help you determine the specific compliance measures you need to implement to mitigate these risks.

3. Invest in Proper Equipment

Ensure that your fuel storage tanks, pipes, valves, and other equipment meet AS1940 requirements. Investing in high-quality, compliant equipment is an essential step toward compliance.

4. Regular Inspections and Maintenance

Frequent inspections and maintenance are vital to ensure ongoing compliance. Establish a schedule for inspections and address any issues promptly.

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5. Employee Training

Train your employees in fuel storage safety protocols and emergency response procedures. Regular training and drills will help reinforce compliance measures.

6. Documentation

Maintain detailed records of inspections, maintenance, and training. Proper documentation is essential to demonstrate compliance in the event of an audit.

Benefits of AS1940 Compliance

Compliance with AS1940 offers several benefits:

1. Safety Assurance

Adhering to AS1940 gets you significantly along the pathway to being confident that your fuel storage facility is as safe as possible, protecting both your employees and the environment.

2. Legal Compliance

Compliance reduces the risk of legal issues and associated costs. It demonstrates your commitment to safety and regulatory compliance.

3. Environmental Responsibility

Proper fuel storage practices minimise the risk of spills and leaks, reducing your environmental footprint and potential cleanup costs.

4. Operational Efficiency

Compliance often leads to more efficient operations as it encourages best practices in fuel storage and handling.


Understanding AS1940 and achieving compliance is a fundamental responsibility for anyone involved in fuel storage and handling in Australia. Not only does it demonstrate safety and environmental responsibility, but it also protects your business from legal consequences.

If you have any questions or need assistance in achieving AS1940 compliance for your fuel storage facility, don’t hesitate to contact Fuelfix & Tanks2Go. We’re here to help you navigate the intricacies of fuel storage compliance and ensure your operations meet the highest safety standards.

Remember, safety should always come first, and compliance with AS1940 is a critical step in that direction.

To find out more about how we can help, call us at 1300 734 764 or fill the contact form on the website.