Any business that stores or transports chemical products is at risk of having a spill. When an accident happens and a hazardous chemical spill occurs, several different outcomes are possible. Businesses that want to successfully cope and recover after an accident must take a comprehensive approach to spill prevention and management.
One aspect of spill cleanup and recovery that’s commonly overlooked by potentially liable companies is proper insurance coverage. States can vary on how they divide liability for spills and insurance companies will have different standards for what a policy will cover. Some companies will cover cleanup costs in a general liability policy, but others may require pollution liability to be purchased separately.
Transporters, brokers or end users of chemical products that don’t have the proper coverage can find themselves in a difficult situation when a spill occurs. If they opted for a policy that doesn’t offer limits that are appropriate for the type and quantity of chemicals they handle, they can find themselves paying a substantial portion of cleanup costs themselves. Cleanups after a spill are also mandatory under state and federal law, so if the state has to pay those costs the responsible party will find themselves in court facing severe fines and jail time. Companies that don’t have the cash on hand to cover cleanup costs often go out of business soon after.
The cost of a cleanup depends heavily on what product is spilled and where it occurs. A few gallons of paint spilled on a flat parking lot would require minimal effort and cost to cleanup. In contrast, the cost of cleaning up a tractor trailer that spilled hundreds of gallons of ethylene glycol into a waterway could easily reach over $100,000. More hazardous substances can invoke cleanups and lawsuits costing millions of dollars.
No one can predict the future, but with thorough planning and investment companies can be prepared to handle spills and resume normal operations as soon as possible. By assessing their risks and working with their insurance provider to find the proper amount of coverage, a company is taking another step toward protecting it’s shareholders and employees from financial disaster.
For over twenty years, Protect Environmental has been working with responsible parties, insurance companies and state authorities to cleanup chemical spills and protect the health and safety of the public. If you’d like to know more about the role that Protect can play in your overall spill response strategy, give us a call or email today.