The fact that transport related spills can occur almost anywhere, (In the depot, at the customer’s yard, from loads in transit and not forgetting leaks from the vehicles themselves) makes understanding the risk and preparing for incidents very important.
The Environment Agency recorded over 500 incidents in England and Wales involving transport, cargo, storage and distribution during 2009 with environmental pollution (which is a criminal offence even if it is as a result of accidental release) incidents resulting in many cases.
Data gathered on the causes of road and transport related pollution incidents that occurred during 2009 showed that:
- 20% were as a result of illegal and poor practice
- 19% as a direct result of a road traffic accident
- 18% from accidental spills
- 12% from fires
- 9% poor management of equipment, materials, waste and facilities
- 4% poor management and control
- 18% other causes
It goes without saying that it’s of paramount importance to understand all the hazards and potential risks in your operation to allow an evaluation to be made about what actions and training needs to be put in place. This process should be carried out on a regular basis to incorporate any new or changed operations and typically should include areas such as:
- All the vehicles on site including battery operated versions
- All vehicle related activities; such as refuelling (including Adblue), wash down, cleaning and maintenance and servicing
- Storage and disposal of all the new and used products required to maintain your fleet (oil, coolant, lubricant, chemicals, fuel, batteries, tyres brake pads etc.)
- Goods in storage and on vehicles
- On site catering facilities (new and used cooking oil)
Having understood what products you have on site or in transit is only the beginning of the process, you need to understand your site drainage system, both surface and foul water to allow you to know where a spill can flow to. How would you seal them in the event of an incident?
It isn’t always the size of the spill that determines its seriousness, small amounts of “the wrong” product accessing a water course or causing ground contamination can just as easily cause major harm to the environment.
For a comprehensive plan to work your thinking must include planning for once your vehicles leave your site and how you respond to emergencies that may happen out on the road or on your customer’s premises.
The process of carrying out a spill risk assessment can be time consuming and it can be easy to miss areas that you would not necessarily associate with spills. Failure to implement and action appropriate plans will at some point lead to a pollution incident with the potential result being prosecution with fines and or imprisonment, clean up costs, increased insurance premiums or even a refusal to renew, order phentermine uk financial penalties from customers or even lost contracts as a result of adverse publicity. So why not utilise the experience of others, an “outside” pair of trained eyes will at the very least confirm what you already know but more often than not, see something that has become commonplace to you. Our experienced managers are available to provide you with a confidential report at no cost and without any onus on you to purchase anything.
As an ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 18001 accredited UK manufacturing company Empteezy Ltd has more than 24 years experience in the spill containment and spill control industry and uniquely we are the only one that manufactures absorbents & spill kits, rotationally moulds spill pallets and fabricates fully compliant bunded steel storage units for drums and IBCs in our own factories.
One of the critical areas not to overlook when assessing your spill hazards is the involvement and training of your staff, they are pivotal to a successful plan. By involving and encouraging ownership by the people who are likely to encounter an incident you will minimize the risk of it occurring in the first place. The best written plan is nothing without the full understanding and backing of the people who will action it.
When researching legislation and other information to help you plan don’t forget to utilize the UK agencies whose role it is to “police” the environment. The Environment Agency is a good source, providing invaluable advice on reducing risk and improving environmental performance. Websites like www.netregs.gov.uk and www.environment-agency.gov.uk provide guidance including Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPGs) which cover legal and good practice requirements including:
- Oil storage PPG 2
- Oil separators PPG 3
- Refuelling facilities PPG 7
- Vehicle washing and cleaning PPG 13
- Pollution incident response planning PPG 21
- Incident response – dealing with spills PPG 22
Don’t forget to discuss any plans you make with your insurance provider, they will often have a view on the direction you should take and a decision taken without consulting them could increase your premiums or invalidate a claim.
The bottom line is you have a responsibility to plan and train for all eventualities on your site, your customer’s site and while your vehicles are on the road. We can help you with your planning and training and can of course advice you on the right spill kits, drain blockers, drain covers, sorbent materials, spill pallets etc to ensure you can deal with minor spills and, more serious incidents in a safe and professional way. To discuss your requirements why not contact us for a first chat to see how we can help you, call 01506 430309 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Lawrence – Empteezy Ltd