By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services
Fuel spills resulting from vehicle accidents can be very expensive. In the incident
of a vehicle accident, regardless of the circumstances, the spill generator has
strict liability and is responsible for fuel clean-up. Clean-up costs of government
hired contractors can be triple the costs of those contractors hired independently.
Fines for failing to notify local agencies or competing a proper clean-up can range
into the thousands of dollars. The cost of a fuel spill can be over $100,000 if
improperly contained. This can be dramatically reduced with proper planning and
training, and managing the fuel spill incident with immediate and appropriate response.
Drivers Response Actions:
The driver is the key to keeping fuel spill costs low, his actions are critical
at the scene.:
- If the saddle tank is leaking, shut off the cross over lines, attempt to plug the
leak to slow or stop leakage.
- If the cross over lines are leaking cut and crimp the lines if possible.
- Prevent spill liquid from entering storm drains or sewers.
- Build a dike of dirt, rocks, furniture pads or whatever possible to slow and contain
run off of fuel.
- Confine the liquid on hard surface such as asphalt or concrete if possible. Discourage
washing the liquid from the road.
- Keep all persons away from the spill, except for emergency responders.
- DO NOT SIGN ANY CONTRACT or clean-up agreement without instructions from the company
and your insurer.
- Notify the appropriate person at your company and follow their instructions.
- Do not discuss the spill with anyone other than the emergency response crew and
your contracted clean-up contractor.
- Remain at the scene as instructed by your company.
The Company contact person also needs to act quickly to control the cost of the
Company Contact Duties:
- Get the exact location of the unit and phone number where driver can be reached.
- Scope of the spill (number of gallons, size, type of liquid).
- Time of spill and how it occurred.
- Name, organization, and telephone number of responding authorities.
- If the local authorities have not been contacted do so immediately.
- Notify the insurance company and get a clean-up contractor to respond.
The keys to controlling the cost of a fuel spill are to stop the spill quickly,
contain the spill to the smallest possible area and notify the insurance company
and clean-up crew quickly so clean-up can get started immediately.
Any questions or comments can be directed to Matt Schiefferly 800-852-1968 or e-mail