Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Generators at construction sites

Generators for construction sites

Whether small and portable or large and static, generators use fuel such as petrol or diesel to produce electricity.

The Health and Safety Executive provides information on electricity and the safe use and handling of flammable substances such as petrol.

Health and Safety Executive

Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

What you must do

Location and set up

Where possible, set up your generator on an impermeable surface such as hard standing or a drip tray, well away from any drains or watercourses.

Where an external fuel storage tank feeds a generator, you should ensure that the hoses and couplings are protected from damage. Make sure that no one walks between the storage tank and the generator and that vehicles do not operate within the immediate area.

If you are moving a generator with a built-in bund, first make sure that the bund is empty, otherwise the liquid from the bund will spill.

Ensure that your generator pulls fuel in from any external fuel tank rather than fuel being pumped into the generator. This will stop the flow of fuel if the generator breaks down.

If you use or hire a generator that has an integral (built-in) bund, check that the bund does not have holes drilled in it.


Service your generator regularly. As well as making the generator operate more efficiently, this can reduce the level of noise and emissions (fumes) that it produces.

When your generator is serviced, have the hoses and connections checked for wear and tear or damage. As well as time lost through breakdowns, leaks and pipe bursts can cause land contamination and water pollution that can be expensive to clean up.

Fuel and oil spills

The risk of spilling fuel is at its greatest during refuelling of plant.

Refuelling at construction sites

Keep a spill kit available and use a bunded bowser for refuelling.

Other simple steps that you can take to prevent oil spills include training staff, supplying funnels for use when refuelling and providing absorbent materials to soak up spills.

Make sure that any container that you use for transporting diesel or petrol to your generator is fit for purpose, has a sealed lid, does not leak and is properly labelled.

Place a drip tray beneath hoses or couplings. You need to empty drip trays regularly. If oil, diesel or petrol is present, you will need to dispose of the contents of the drip trays as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

Oil storage


The doors that allow you access to the internal workings of the generator are usually designed to be closed while it is operating. Ensure that these doors are closed to reduce the noise produced by the generator while it is operating and reduce the potential for complaints from the public.

SEE ALSO: Considerate Constructors Scheme, Oil storage

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