When a diesel spillage happens, you should respond calmly and quickly to ensure its safe handling.
Diesel is highly flammable, and has the potential to produce damaging vapours. In addition, it also contains toxic substances.
The mishandling of spilled diesel can quickly lead to fire incidents, while exposure to harmful diesel fumes can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation.
There are several risks when a diesel spill occurs.
First, diesel and other petroleum are slippery, creating an immediate slip hazard for road traffic and humans. As mentioned already, diesel is highly flammable, with diesel spills posing a significant fire hazard if they are not responded to quickly. Toxic chemicals can also quickly leach away into water courses, creating risks for animals, marine life and humans.
For all of these reasons, any diesel spill should be dealt with as efficiently and carefully as possible.
Diesel should always be handled with caution, using a range of appropriate and approved safety measures and personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk to people during a diesel spill clean-up.
What should you do if diesel has been spilled?
Dealing with spilled diesel requires immediate attention, particularly if the spill has occurred near water bodies, storm drains, or porous surfaces.
The process begins by assessing the situation, the size of the spill, and the area affected.
It’s also essential that all potential ignition sources are identified before a diesel spill clean-up begins. You should also ensure the source of the spill has been identified and any necessary remedial action taken to prevent further diesel release.
Once this assessment is complete, the area of the diesel spill should be securely cordoned off to prevent any accidental contact or the spill from spreading further.
Warning signs and cones can alert members of the public to the danger. If the spill is significant, or could pose an environmental risk, it’s essential that is reported to local authorities. If it’s in a public place, then it may be appropriate to alert emergency services.
The next step is then to use absorbent pads to help soak up the fuel from soil or surfaces. Booms should be used to contain the spill and to protect nearby drains and waterways.
This limits the spread and damage of the spill before a professional diesel spill clean-up crew arrives on site.
All potential sources of sparks like smoking, open flames, or any electronic equipment in the vicinity should be removed. Any nearby machinery should be switched off for the same reason.
Remember, if a diesel spill does occur, no substances should be handled without the correct PPE being worn.
How diesel should be cleaned
Every diesel spill clean-up is different, but all require the same methodical approach.
The situation should be carefully assessed, taking into account the site, the size of the spill and potential hazards nearby. These are all essential when it comes to developing an appropriate plan of action, and determining what resources, equipment and safety measures will be required for the diesel spill clean-up.
To minimise the risk to the environment and people, it’s critical that the spillage is contained. This is achieved through absorbent materials such as specialised pads or booms. If you are attempting to contain a spill while awaiting the arrival of a professional clean-up team, sandbags and similar can be used. Doing all you can to prevent the fuel from seeping into the ground or reaching water bodies should be a priority.
Careful handling and disposal of contaminated materials is vital throughout the diesel spill clean-up process, and appropriate PPE should always be worn. Once the diesel has been removed, cleaning the affected area is required to ensure that any remaining diesel residue is gone too. The area should be restored as closely as possible to its original state.
Ideally, a diesel spill clean-up should be undertaken by trained and experienced professionals. They will ensure that all necessary safety steps are taken and environmental risks are mitigated to protect the local ecosystem and the health of people nearby.
Should you hire someone to deal with it for you?
Considering the potential risks and hazards that are associated with handling a diesel spill, it is strongly advised that you hire professional clean-up services when a diesel spill occurs.
This is particularly important for larger spills, or in situations that pose significant risks to the local environment.
Even with smaller incidents, there is potential for the situation to be mishandled if undertaken incorrectly, with serious consequences for the local environment and human health.
Professionals have an in-depth knowledge of safety protocols and best practices.
They will be well-versed in handling hazardous materials such as diesel fuels and will be equipped with the appropriate training to mitigate the risks. They will be able to quickly assess the spill, and determine the best containment and clean-up strategy, minimising the risk of any further damage or accidents.
Expert clean-up teams can respond swiftly and effectively, preventing the situation from worsening or creating more costly long-term issues.
Even if you have managed to contain and clean up the spill, a dedicated clean-up service can assess the situation and provide reassurance and recommendations.
Working with professionals, gives you peace of mind that the spill is under control and the environment has been made safe again.
Professional diesel spill clean-up from DHI Excavations
At DHI Excavations, we are the North West’s leading site clearance and waste materials management specialists.
We understand how to assess fuel spill incidents quickly and effectively and, unlike other clearance specialists, we put sustainability at the heart of everything we do.