OIL - 29.04.2021

Committing to safe oil storage

If oil leaks from plant or storage on your premises, it can cause significant environmental damage. It’s therefore important to do what you can to prevent it and prepare to respond to an oil spill. Our policy fits the bill on both accounts.

Write it down

Putting your plans for the safe storage of oil in writing makes sense. It can form part of your formal environmental management system and circulating the document will ensure that managers and staff understand what’s expected of them. Our template Oil Storage Policy and Procedure can be quickly adapted to reflect your own needs and site-specific conditions (see The next step ).

Tip. We’ve stuck to the commonly arising equipment and issues when drafting the policy and procedure and kept it simple. To ensure that site- specific equipment, materials and spill response plans are accounted for, check through the government guidelines for which we’ve provided links at the end of the document and make your own additions. You should also include details from your own environmental risk assessment if you’ve carried one out.

What’s covered?

Our document begins with a “General statement” recognising the risk of toxic and damaging effects on the environment from oilspills and your commitment to reducing the risks. It makes it clear that “all staff are expected to abide by” the procedures and co-operate with managers in its implementation. Part two gives an outline of the legislation within each country of the UK such as the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 . Note. You can delete the legislation that doesn’t apply to your work locations.


The third part is headed “Procedure” and it’s here that the practical details are outlined, under clear subheadings.

The first of these covers deliveries and we’ve indicated that these will be supervised to ensure the correct product goes into the correct tank, and that spill procedures are enacted if necessary. The second and third topics are storage and security. Here you’re invited to describe the physical arrangements you have in place, including secure bunding, impermeable bases around stores, the locking of compounds and valves, etc.

Keeping mobile

Moving on through our procedure we look at the refuelling of mobile plant and the use of drip trays, such as are required beneath portable generators. Spill kits are important. We’ve covered the provision of the equipment, monitoring that it remains available and training staff in its use. As there will be an element of on-the-spot decision making, we’ve asked you to nominate the manager who will take charge during an emergency and included a range of suggested responses which could be followed.

Tip. It’s important that managers do not delay reporting an incident for fear of overstepping their role, we therefore recommend that you include a clear instruction to call the EA as we’ve outlined in the section titled “Emergency spill procedures” .

Our document will help you to describe the arrangements you have in place such as physical bunding and spill kits, whilst also telling managers exactly what’s expected of them during an emergency. Use the document to inspire a confident and prompt response in the event of an oil spill.

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