Can You Claim Insurance When Oil Is Spilled During Delivery?

Tuesday 27th February 2024

Ellen Warren

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A man transporting oil using a hose

CONTENTS

Oil spills during delivery can pose serious environmental risks, leading to significant financial losses. Grasping the causes behind these leaks, whether in industrial settings or with domestic tanks, is vital for averting them. 

At ICE Cleaning, we provide various oil spill cleaning services - able to contain and decontaminate oil spills on hard surfaces, water, and soil. Our emergency services ensure we can arrive on-site the same day, offering environmental consultation for all clients.

Read on to learn about insurance policies that offer protection against such incidents, including liability and environmental impairment liability (EIL) insurance.

How can an oil spill occur during a delivery?

An oil spill during delivery, whether at a work site or a domestic property with a heating oil tank, often stems from several factors. These incidents can cause significant environmental and property damage, making understanding their causes crucial.

Equipment failure

Mechanical issues with the delivery equipment are common culprits. Faulty valves, ruptured hoses, or compromised tanks can lead to unexpected leaks. Regular maintenance checks are essential but sometimes overlooked in daily operations. 

Human error

Misjudgments in handling the hose, incorrect valve operation, or failure to properly secure connections can result in spills. Ensuring that personnel are well-educated and rigorously following guidelines is essential in preventing mishaps.

Inadequate site assessment

Not conducting a thorough evaluation of the delivery location to identify hazards such as improper containment structures or unstable terrain may result in a considerable hazardous threat. Focusing on precautionary measures helps to avoid oil spillages while relocating them.

Thoroughly examining and thoughtfully preparing the site is key to avoiding accidents that could result in expensive clean-up efforts or penalties from oversight agencies.

What types of insurance can cover oil spills?

Grasping the factors of insurance plans capable of handling oil spill damages is crucial. Whether in a commercial or a residential setting, incidents involving oil spillage result in various environmental and public health risks.

Liability insurance

Obtaining this insurance is integral for businesses that work with petroleum to prevent heavy fines and environmental damage. It offers protection against claims arising from damage or injuries caused by an oil spill. 

For instance, if an oil delivery results in contamination on a customer's property, liability insurance would typically cover the cleaning costs and any legal fees. The specifics of what each policy covers can vary widely between providers, so it is crucial to review these details carefully.

Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) insurance

EIL insurance provides broader coverage than standard liability policies because it addresses pollution-related incidents like oil spills. This includes sudden accidents and gradual leaks that could cause long-term environmental damage.

A notable aspect of EIL insurance is its focus on remediation expenses, covering the cost to restore contaminated land or waterways to their original condition as closely as possible.

Pollution liability insurance

Pollution liability goes beyond traditional insurance, including clean-up operations necessary to mitigate further pollution risks. It is particularly relevant when considering potential lawsuits from third parties affected indirectly by an incident. 

Policies tailored towards specific pollutants offer additional security for businesses regularly handling hazardous materials such as oils. This ensures all aspects related directly to your operation receive adequate protection under unforeseen circumstances.

What you should do when oil spills

Discovering an oil spill can be a daunting scenario. The moment you notice an oil spill, it is crucial to act swiftly to lessen its impact on nature and avert any health hazards:

  1.  Contain the spill to the best of your ability, but do not attempt to clean it
  2. If you have absorbents on-site, use these to contain the spill
  3. Ventilate the area where the spill occurred
  4. Alert anyone nearby of the spill
  5. Contact your insurance provider for next steps
  6. Contact a professional oil spill cleaning company

If an oil spill occurs in an area where the environment is now contaminated, you may need to have an environmental consultant conducted on-site. At ICE Cleaning, we work with the Environmental Agency to provide an environmental specialist with our oil spill clean-up services.

Can you claim insurance when your delivery driver spills oil?

Claiming insurance for an oil spill caused by a delivery driver depends on clear evidence. It is hard to hold the driver accountable without concrete proof, such as CCTV footage showing the incident.

The complexity of these claims often stems from identifying who is at fault. If a delivery vehicle leaks oil onto your driveway or containers were mishandled during offloading, pinpointing responsibility is crucial. In instances where liability is not immediately apparent, having documentation and visual evidence can help.

In these situations, it is vital to understand which insurance protections could assist you, whether for straightforward damages or more complex pollution-related accidents. Liability insurance typically covers damage or injury caused by negligence.

How to prevent oil spills during a delivery

Stopping oil leaks while transporting them goes beyond just protecting the environment; it is essential for maintaining smooth operations and adhering to regulations. Ensuring oil spill prevention depends on preemptive actions, thorough staff preparation, and utilising appropriate gear.

Proper training

The first line of defence against oil spills is well-trained personnel. Staff should be aware of handling procedures, emergency response tactics, and the importance of safety checks before starting any delivery operation. 

Maintenance checks on equipment are equally critical to spill prevention. Routine check-ups can spot issues early on, preventing accidental spills or leaks.

Maintenance of delivery equipment

Maintaining all delivery apparatus is integral. Routine upkeep requires inspecting hoses, valves, and connectors for deterioration as a standard procedure. Auditing systems using technology can also offer extra assurance, ensuring that all components are functioning correctly before starting deliveries.

Implementing spill prevention measures

Prior planning helps in preventing incidents. Guidance documents highlight the necessity for containment solutions such as secondary containment units or spill trays, which can significantly mitigate risks if a spill were ever to occur.

Frequently asked questions

Who is liable for an oil spill?

The party at fault, often the delivery company or driver, carries the can. But, proving it can be difficult without CCTV.

Are most oil spills domestic?

Most oil spills occur during a delivery to a home or the degradation of a domestic oil tank.

How do you handle an oil spill?

Avoid touching it yourself. Ring up ICE Cleaning pronto for a professional mop-up and to keep things from getting worse.

What type of oil is used in domestic oil tanks?

Gas oil or kerosene is used in most domestic oil tanks - but kerosene is more common.

Get in touch

For extensive oil spill clean-up services, you can rely on ICE Cleaning. Our services include environmental consultation in the event of contamination in water or soil, ensuring our process is thorough and environmentally aware.

To learn more about our oil remediation services, get in touch with our team today at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We offer emergency services nationwide, working 24/7, 365 days a year to keep you

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Melissa Harrison

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