FORTY per cent of small and medium sized businesses which cause substantial environmental spills in the course of their operations will fail within 18 months of the incident.
Heavy fines, clean-up costs and operational downtime, insurance premium increases and damage to reputation or word-of-mouth comment all add up to a damaging package. In fact, spill or fall foul of the environment agencies and you can expect the total incident cost to be in the order of eight times the fine – a £5,000 fine implies a cost to the business of at least £40,000.
Lubetech, a leading spill control manufacturer, is helping to make the industry more aware of the dangers by joining forces with its 2,500 distributors in the UK to offer free site audits for businesses which need reassurance that their precautions and response measures can meet minimum legal requirements.
Marketing director Simon Evans explained: “Killing spill before it kills your business is common sense. Combined, costs and time are crippling blows from which business does not recover when dealing with a spill and you aren’t focusing on your business.
“Nobody would operate a business without fire protection yet a recent survey revealed 76% of SMEs in the UK have no understanding of spill response with the same regulatory obligation. Does `white van man` even know for example, that if he’s carrying just 30 litres of fluids in a vehicle the law requires carriage of an appropriate spill kit? There are 2.5 million white vans on Britain’s roads – every business needs to comply.”
Companies are concerned about the costs of putting in place appropriate measures but according to Lubetech, most solutions cost pounds and pennies, not tens of thousands of pounds. “The fear should be of the consequence, not the compliance,” it argues.
Lubetech supplies through distributors and said many smaller companies could benefit from a simple walk-round and technical advice from an expert. Evans went on: “We have a project running in conjunction with the EA to increase businesses awareness of spill control by one million in the UK and we know from our years of experience that we can work with our distributors to deliver much-needed knowledge and guidance.
“For many businesses a free site audit is all they need to provide the pointers to full compliance and to ensure they are not being ripped off by companies that spout regulations, then quote thousands.
“In 2013 controlling spillage is no longer just about saving the environment or merely meeting Health & Safety regulations; it’s got to be about preparedness saving business time and money.”