This safety alert highlights the serious health and safety risks that poorly maintained tripod tanks pose for fuel users and is from the Fuel Distributors Industry Safety Committee and Worksafe New Zealand.

What happened

A fuel tanker driver was seriously injured in a recent incident on a farm in which a tripod overhead tank collapsed while he was filling it. The root cause of the collapse was significant corrosion (rust) on one of the tank legs – see examples below.

Farm implements close to the tank also contributed to the driver’s injuries.

[image] examples of poorly maintained tripod tanks
Examples of poorly maintained tripod tanks

Our advice

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.

If you have concerns or would like assistance please contact your local fuel supplier team which can help you to ensure your operational environment is safe.


For further information, see our guidelines on Above ground fuel storage on farms.


Safety alert: Poorly maintained tripod tanks are a safety risk (PDF 184 KB)