New Spill Center Blog Provides Guidance In Dealing With Hazmat Spills

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Spill Center authors an informational blog on a wide variety of important topics for hazardous material transportation carriers.

Spill Reporting

Spill Reporting

Spill Center is a nationwide, 24-hour emergency resource dedicated to reducing environmental liability for companies that become spill generators.

Spill Center, a North American leader in spill support and environmental claims management, offers a wealth of information on its website and blog for companies at risk for accidental releases of hazardous materials and other pollution events. An important new blog entry discusses priorities that spill generators should observe in the aftermath of an environmental release of regulated materials.

After stopping the flow of the leaking material and ensuring that the pollutant does not reach a body of water or drainage ditch, the most important next step to take is completing the mandatory incident report to the authority or authorities with jurisdiction over the spill site. Failure to make the reports within the required timeframe can bring stiff fines and penalties for non-compliance.

“It is important to understand the spill generator’s legal responsibility,” observes Tom Moses, Spill Center president, who holds a law degree and a certificate in hazardous materials control and emergency response. “Are you responsible for making reports even if the spill was not your driver’s fault?” he asks. “In a word, Yes."

“After a transportation accident, for example, the carrier having care, custody and control of a material at the time of loss is considered the spill generator and is responsible for spill damages, cleanup costs and making all required incident reports, both by phone and written. Oftentimes, spills involve several jurisdictions, each with its own reporting requirements,” explains Moses.

Spill Center’s blog discusses topics related to minimizing costs and limiting liability related to spills and pollution events. Strict liability is examined by Moses, who observes that is “legal responsibility without regard to fault.” Strict liability makes the spill generator responsible for paying damages associated with it, including the following:

  • Costs related to response, reporting, remediation and waste disposal
  • Property damage and bodily injury arising from the spill
  • Fines and penalties for failing to comply with reporting regulations
  • Reimbursement of emergency services

Moses also offers recommendations on ways to maintain a legally defensible position against third-part claimants. “After a spill requiring environmental cleanup, all activities, including efforts taken to contain and stop leaking materials and all regulatory reporting activities, should be logged. In truck-related incidents, drivers should write down everything they do after a spill to avoid being drawn into a pre-existing contamination problem as a responsible party,” he relates.

“Being able to document that a release was separate in time, separate in nature, and was the subject of a separate and complete response and remediation will go a long way toward a successful defense,” he explains. “That driver’s log will provide a written record that can be used to place the company in a legally defensible position.”

Other blog topics address recalls of hazardous products, working with contractors, invoice auditing and dealing with emergency responders seeking reimbursement. Moses also discusses Spill Center’s program of support to clients in the transportation, chemical and insurance industries.

In addition, Moses hosts a monthly podcast in which he discusses topics related to spills and spill preparedness. The current podcast addresses the potential consequences of failing to report spills. An archive of previous podcasts is also available at the site at spillcenter.podomatic.com.

According to Moses, Spill Center provides immediate spill management and required documentation, comprehensive regulatory expertise, clean-up contractor referrals, invoice auditing and a proven method designed to place the spill generator in a legally defensible position – all in a low-cost way proven to control costs and limit liability. Spill Center’s offers expertise in:

  • Environmental regulatory compliance
  • Emergency spill response management and documentation
  • Claims resolution, negotiation and settlement

For more information, contact Tom Moses, Spill Center, 22 Kane Industrial Dr., Hudson MA 01749. Tel: 978-568-1922. Email: tmoses(at)spillcenter(dot)net. Or visit us at http://www.spillcenter.net/.

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