No matter what type of business you own, accidents are always bound to happen. From broken equipment to slips and falls, knowing what to do when the unexpected happens helps you to manage all situations.
One such accident that is a common occurence specifically at petrol stations are small fuel spills. While not uncommon, if handled incorrectly or left unattended a small fuel spill can become a large problem and pose a danger to both customers and employees.
If you notice or are informed of a small fuel spill on your forecourt or at any area of your petrol station, knowing the proper steps to take to clean up the spill can help prevent any conflicts that may arise from the accident.
1. Assess The Spill
The first step in properly cleaning up any mess is to carefully assess the scene for any potential hazards or risk factors. Due to the flammable nature of petrol, it is important to check the spill and the surrounding areas for any potential ignition sources that could spark a fire and remove these risk factors.
Ensure that the area is well ventilated, and protect your hands from contact with gasoline by wearing protective gear such as gloves. Once the area has been assessed and further risks have been identified and removed, proceed with cleaning the area.
Once the area of the spill has been thoroughly assessed, the next step is to ensure that the spill is contained. Containment prevents more gasoline from spilling, spreading, or causing possible contamination to other sites or areas of your service station.
Once the spill has been contained and is no longer spreading, move towards removing the fuel. It is important to remember that unlike other common spills, petrol does not mix with water. Do not attempt to clean a fuel spill at your petrol station with water, as it will thin the mixture, spread it further, and leave a lingering residue that increases fire risk at your petrol station.
Instead, proper cleaning of a fuel spill should be carried out using an absorbent. There are purpose designed products designed for absorbing spills, but in a pinch, kitty litter, flour, or even baking soda can be used to absorb the fuel. Spread a thick layer over the surface of the petrol and leave for 20 minutes or until the spill is fully absorbed.
4. Dispose of Waste Accordingly
Once all the fuel has been absorbed, sweep into a proper waste disposal unit. It is important to remember that the waste you are disposing of will remain flammable, and should not be disposed of near any sources of potential ignition.
While inconvenient, small fuel spills are an inevitable part of owning a petrol station. Thankfully, with some basic knowledge and the right tools, you can quickly clean and dispose of a fuel spill safely and without risk to customers or other employees.