Any company can become a spill generator. Being prepared for environmental incidents – on the highway or at your facility – is the best way to contain costs and limit your liability associated with spills of hazardous materials and other regulated substances.
Companies that are unprepared to handle spill emergencies quickly and comply with all reporting requirements can end up with major expenses for cleanup and disposal services, liability issues, and steep penalties for failing to file incident reports on time.
Your first step toward spill preparedness is a survey of your entire operation to identify every activity that can produce an environmental release. Next, create a detailed spill contingency plan for each of those activities. It becomes your road map for handling hazmat emergencies.
The plan is a set of detailed instructions to notify the right people in your company, contact preferred contractors to handle the spill, and trigger internal and external reports. This spill contingency plan is the key to efficient coordination of cleanup, mitigation and reporting efforts.
The plan should list names and phone numbers of local cleanup contractors qualified to handle spills of materials transported and used at your facilities and in all areas where your fleet operates. Also list contact information for local, state and federal environmental agencies, along with the incident reporting requirements in those areas.
The contingency plan should be kept in an easily accessed, centralized location – such as on a secure web site, where it can be quickly activated anytime. Make sure someone in your organization is responsible for staying current with incident reporting requirements and for keeping the plan up to date.
You might consider enlisting the services of outside specialists. Spill Center, for example, can help tailor a contingency plan to meet your specific requirements. The plan can be completed online at a secure web site, maintained online, and quickly activated by Spill Center compliance associates when your company is involved in a spill requiring cleanup and reporting support.
Spill Center can locate the resources needed to respond to the spill quickly and professionally and manage the incident for you – at night, on the weekends and during holidays. All required hazmat incident reports can be completed on your behalf to avoid fines for failure to report. Thorough documentation is established to defend against third-party claims arising from spills.
No fleet or other business at risk for accident spills of regulated substances should ever have enough spills to get good at handling them. By aligning yourself with experts who are equipped to provide assistance when you need it most, you broaden your state of preparedness and help minimize spill-related costs and liability. The efforts you spend “planning a spill” can help minimize your costs and liability in the event of an unintentional release on the road or at your facility.