Petroleum Spill Control

by: John Espley

Pictured here the BC Hazmat management team doing the dangerous job of pumping out an overturned fuel delivery truck. The fire dept was standing by with both water and foam just in case of a catastrophic fire or explosion

Do you operate a gas station, carwash or have a parking lot? If the answer is yes, you are vulnerable to a hydrocarbon spill (gas, diesel, oil). The big concern here is a liability. You as the business and property owner can be held responsible for several outcomes. Here at BC Hazmat Management, we have responded to many stores, banks, gas station parking lots and loading areas cleaning up leaks from both customers vehicles and delivery vehicles. In the case of delivery vehicles, the spills can come from the vehicle itself or the product they are delivering (oil, chemicals).

What are the areas of concern where you might be liable? The first one is exposure, exposure to your staff or your customers. Many products have extremely harmful fumes that can easily overcome individuals, especially those with any breathing issues. Then there is a slip, a trip, or a fall concern, jokingly we always laugh at the cartoons of someone slipping on a banana peel, but the realities are not so comical. Representing 15 per cent of the population, according to Statistics Canada, an estimated 4.27 million Canadians aged 12 or older suffered an injury severe enough to limit their usual activities in 2009–2010, an increase from 13 per cent in 2001. Overall, falls were the leading cause of injury. About 63 per cent of seniors and one-half of adolescents were injured in falls, as were 35 per cent of working-age adults.

The good news here is that appropriate training and supplies on hand can and will be, your best insurance against injuries and environmental damage. Using the BC Hazmat Management example, in one day we can teach your staff about the possible spills they will encounter, how to help prevent those spills and how to quickly and efficiently respond to the spills when they do happen.