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How to avoid fuel spillages on site

Fuel spills are costly. They pose a tangible threat to your company’s bottom line, reputation, and the natural environment. That’s why avoiding fuel spillages means saving your business valuable time and a hefty fine later on. 

In our guide we’ve compiled a handful of tips to help reduce fuel spills on site, and what to do if one does occur.

 

Fuel leak causes

Without the most robust processes in place, fuel can spill from your tanks due to a number of reasons. Some of the common fuel leak causes include:

  • General wear and tear – depending on how durable the tank is, bumps and poor maintenance can damage tanks when there’s enough impact. 
  • Customers pushing tanks and causing them to collapse, unless using cubed tanks. 
  • Refueling your tank with the wrong fuel may cause leaks, in some cases. 
  • Vehicles driving on uneven terrain to deliver fuel can also cause leaks if the tank isn’t secure. 

Investing in the right fuel storage equipment, having a thorough understanding of safety compliance and being response-ready are key to avoiding fuel spillages.

 

Fuel leak costs

No matter the size, a spill can lead to serious fuel leak costs. At athe small scale, distributors finding a customer’s containment pit filled with rainwater and a sheen of diesel on top can face a clean-up bill of over $1,000. Even a small spill in the pan of a traditional round tank can cost $150 to pump out.

But the risks at larger storage sites, especially in environmentally sensitive areas are acute. The cost of clearing up a substantial spill can be around $20,000 – and involve total site shutdowns until environmental health and safety specialists are satisfied. And the buck stops with the distributor.

 

What to do to avoid fuel spillages on site

A lot of the time, the causes of fuel leaks can be avoided. With a few extra safety procedures in place, you can keep your teams safe while working on site.

At Western Global, the last thing we want to hear is that our customers’ projects are being stalled by leaks and spills. We’ve designed robust fuel tanks that are double walled for extra protection. Leaks can cost you extra, so we’ve removed that risk with reliable fuel storage that you can keep onsite risk-free. We’ve provided our tips below for preventing spillages, but if you’d like to know more about how our tanks can help, then get in touch with our team.

Carry out fuel tank maintenance

Making sure that your tank is in the best condition possible can do more than help customers pass compliance – it also means avoiding fuel spillages.

Depending on the tank, fuel leaks can be caused by poor, or a lack of, tank maintenance. Ensure that the fuel tank is free of debris – including pumps – and regularly remove any build up of liquid in the secondary inner tank if applicable. Anything removed from the tank should be classed as hazardous waste, so employees should be fully trained and provided with PPE before carrying out these measures.

Any bumps or scrapes should also be looked at and hinges on cabinet doors must be checked for any rusting or stiffness. Pumps and accessories should be locked safely away and protected from the elements. Find out more about fuel tank maintenance here.

Follow refueling safety procedures

Safety is a priority in the construction industry, so there should already be basic health and safety procedures on your customers’ sites. However, it’s easy to become complacent and some measures may slip further down the to-do list. There’s a number of checks you can do to help with fuel spill control.

The safety markings on your tank may not seem like the first step in preventing fuel spillages, but clearly labeling the tank’s contents and the capacity means avoiding any overfill. Customers should clearly monitor their fuel storage so they know when exactly to refill.

Again, make sure fuel is only handled by staff with an understanding of safety compliance, and only refueling should take place in a remote area of a site, away from fire hazards. This also ensures that, if a fuel spillage does happen, it’s contained in one safe area.

Read our guide on safety while refueling. 

Use fuel spill containment equipment

One of the key ways to prevent fuel spills is using the right fuel containment equipment. Drip trays are one option, but a double-walled tank means that fuel is completely contained without the risk of leaks or spills. They’re a convenient option for businesses wanting to store fuel on site, especially in challenging or remote environments. There’s less site preparation involved, and even less clean up or maintenance.

With Western Global’s double-walled tanks, fuel is locked securely away inside – even when transporting your tanks from place to place. They can be forklifted straight on to site while full of fuel, arriving on site ready to be used straight away.

 

Western Global fuel tanks for spill containment

Our number one priority is helping you store fuel safely. Customers rely on our products to minimize environmental impact and avoid fuel leaks in North America’s harshest and most testing environments. They’re simple to maintain, and many feature removable inner linings for easy cleaning, and lockable equipment cabinets keeping pumps, meters, and hoses safe from the elements.

Products like our Transcube and FuelCube can be craned into position without damage or risk of a fuel spill. Clever engineering and our adoption of steel also reduce the risk of corrosion, so they have a longer safe lifespan, too. Both tanks provide an environmentally-safe source of fuel that reduces dependence on fuel deliveries, traffic on site and health and safety risks. We also offer a compact version of the FuelCube for even more maneuverability while on the move.

Leaks can cost you extra, so we’ve removed that risk with reliable fuel storage that you can keep onsite risk-free.

How should a fuel spillage on site be dealt with?

Fuel spillages can sometimes occur on even the safest sites. A spill can pose several safety and environmental risks, so it’s important to have a response plan in place to avoid contamination or injury.

Some of the procedures for fuel spills include:

  • Notify relevant authorities, such as the site managers or coordinators and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as soon as possible.
  • Employees need to be equipped with PPE before dealing with the spill.
  • Ensure that the spill is contained and, if possible, the fuel leak cause is stopped. Staff should know which liquids they can safely deal with as part of their training, and which they should leave alone.
  • If the spill cannot be contained, then any high-risk areas of the site – such as waterways or drains – should be identified.

The effects of fuel spillages can be dangerous so following the correct procedures and implementing safety measures will help minimize risk. Storing fuel in a double-walled tank will reduce leaks and spills and ensure everyone is safe on site at all times.

 

Avoiding fuel spillages with Western Global

Process safety and environmental protection are important to contractors and their workers. We help fuel distributors guard against risk and give them the solutions they need to gain new customers and give peace of mind to existing ones. These safe and secure fuel tanks are available for fast dispatch across North America and meet or exceed all regulations.

Find out more about our fuel storage tanks, such as our TransCube and FuelCube, or get in touch with our team.

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