Loss Control Tips: Petrol Stations/Corner Shops

Managing a petrol station and corner shop brings numerous challenges. After all, these establishments are responsible for providing customers the fuel they need for their next journey on the road and offering them a handful of everyday essentials— including food, medications and toiletries. Therefore, delivering exceptional service, maintaining a loyal customer base and promoting a safe work environment are vital to operational success. What’s more, these establishments also carry a wide range of liability, property and security risks— all of which could contribute to costly damages.

That’s why it’s crucial to have effective loss control measures in place. This resource summarises common risks that petrol station and corner shop owners must address and includes helpful strategies they can use to prevent potential claims.

Premises Liability

First, it’s important for petrol station and corner shop owners to ensure that their properties are suitable for customers. Whether customers are filling up their vehicles outside or purchasing snacks in the store, all it takes is a single mishap—such as a slip incident—to result in a costly claim. To avoid such liability concerns, petrol station and corner shop owners should uphold these measures:

  • Keep the car park in good repair through regular inspections and maintenance. Make it a priority to fix potholes, cracks and other slip or trip hazards as quickly as possible.
  • Be sure adequate snow removal and de-icing protocols are in place throughout the property during winter, especially regarding the car park and pavements.
  • Make sure all floor surfaces remain clean and dry. Place water-resistant rugs at all property entrances to eliminate slip and trip concerns from excess moisture during adverse weather conditions (eg rain, ice and snow).
  • Verify all outdoor pavements are safely spaced from vehicle traffic routes. Doing so will help prevent pedestrians from passing through vehicles’ blind spots, thus mitigating collision hazards.
  • Ensure all toilets at the property are fully accessible. Maintain these toilets on a routine cleaning schedule.
  • Establish appropriate procedures to minimise the risk of selling age-restricted products (eg alcohol, overthe- counter medications and tobacco) to minors. Specifically, all employees should be trained on proper age-verification protocols.

Fire Prevention

The presence of petrol and other flammable liquids at petrol stations and corner shops can pose various fire hazards. Poor usage or improper storage of these items can have serious consequences—leading to costly property damage and severe (or even fatal) injuries. To minimise such risks, petrol station and corner shop owners should follow these fire prevention protocols:

  • Implement measures to help prevent petrol pumps from being struck by vehicles. This might include installing safety bollards around each pump.
  • Provide clear, easy-to-understand usage instructions on all self-service petrol pumps. Routinely review these instructions to make sure they remain legible. Replace the instructions as needed.
  • Instruct employees to pay attention to the selfservice petrol pumps to confirm that customers follow proper usage instructions and adhere to necessary safety precautions.
  • Provide employees with proper safety training before permitting them to operate full-service petrol pumps (if applicable).
  • Inspect all propane tanks carefully upon receipt. Contact the supplier if any concerns arise.
  • Store all propane tanks in a safe and secure location outdoors. Prohibit customers from bringing propane tanks inside the establishment under any circumstance.

Security and Crime

Due to the nature of petrol station and corner shop operations—namely, remaining open for extended hours and frequently handling cash on the property—these establishments can be more vulnerable to crime concerns (eg theft, robbery and assault) than the average business. In the event of such crimes, these establishments could experience large-scale losses and reputational damages. As a result, it’s crucial for petrol station and corner shop owners to have these security measures in place:

  • Install effective security technology throughout the property, such as alarm systems and security cameras. Keep this equipment in good condition through regular inspections and maintenance.
  • Utilise signage to inform customers and passersby of the property’s security measures (eg ‘Video Recording in Progress’ and ‘Alarm Will Sound’ posters). Such signage can help deter potential criminals.
  • Establish a secure cash management system on-site. This system should minimise the handling of money by storing the majority of cash in a safe and having low funds available in tills.
  • Keep all cash, cheques and receipts in a properly secured location until deposit time. Be sure to stagger deposits to prevent criminals from picking up on a pattern and exploiting it.
  • Implement adequate inventory controls to better detect missing items and reduce theft concerns.
  • Schedule night shift employees to work in pairs. Working alone at night can increase employees’ chances of being targeted by criminals.

Food Preparation

When serving food on-site, petrol station and corner shop owners must prioritise proper preparation and sanitation measures. Poor food preparation protocols can have detrimental impacts—potentially resulting in property damage, unsatisfied customers, food poisoning and wasted products due to contamination or spoilage. Petrol station and corner shop owners should utilise these guidelines to ensure appropriate food preparation

  • Ensure all food preparation appliances on the property (eg fryers and grills) are protected by an automatic fire suppression system (AFSS). Further, use commercial grade kitchen hoods that are fully capable of catching grease-laden vapors.
  • Keep both the AFSS and kitchen hoods on a regular inspection and maintenance schedule. Inspections and maintenance should be performed by qualified professionals.
  • Store food in fully sealed and properly labelled containers. Such labels should list the product name and expiration date. Implement an effective food management system to ensure expired products are never used and are always disposed of appropriately.
  • Establish protocols to keep raw food separated from other products. Train employees on safe food-handling measures and how to avoid cross contamination issues when working with raw products.
  • Equip all self-serving food and beverage devices containing hot surfaces (eg coffee percolators and food warmers) with appropriate warning signage to protect customers from burning themselves.
  • Develop an adequate housekeeping system to keep the food preparation area clean and organised at all times. Adopt pest management procedures to prevent potential infestations.

Learn More

It’s vital for petrol station and corner shop owners to take necessary risk management precautions to minimise costly insurance claims and lawsuits. Doing so can help ensure customer satisfaction, reduce liability concerns, prevent property damage and keep employees safe on the job.

While this resource offers several effective loss control strategies, petrol station and corner shop owners don’t have to navigate their risk management programmes alone. Working with a qualified and experienced insurance professional can make all the difference. Contact us today to review cover options and additional loss control tactics for petrol station and corner shop owners.

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