How Common Are Hazmat Shipping Spills?

How Common Are Hazmat Shipping Spills?

November 16, 2020

Hazardous cargo is a broad term that encompasses many different materials. It can range from oil to airbags to alcoholic beverages, and its relative danger can vary widely. There are 800,000 hazmat shipments a day, which adds up to 3.1 billion tons being shipped per year. Accidents and hazmat spills in North Charleston, SC are inevitable, and their severity can vary depending on how bad a collision is and how dangerous the item in question is.

Hazmat spill stats

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Census Bureau keep comprehensive stats about shipping in North Charleston, SC and beyond, so we have a pretty good idea of how often spills occur. In 2017, there were 3,391 incidents of spills during transit on trucks, and 8,036 incidents that occurred during the unloading phase of shipping. Trains are quite a bit safer—only 431 hazardous materials incidents occurred on them while in transit.

So, what does this data tell us? We can estimate that there are 292 million truck trips every year that contain hazmat. Given the incident numbers above, this means that there’s roughly a .004 percent chance (or one in 25,000) that a hazmat trip will result in some sort of incident that causes risk to people or property. For the sake of comparison, if you take a 1,000-mile trip in a car, your chances of getting in an accident are roughly 25 times higher than that. All told, hazmat shipping is quite safe when proper protocols are closely followed.

Types of spills

The other thing to keep in mind about hazmat spills is that they can vary quite a bit in severity. An oil spill is very different from a lithium battery discharging, but they both qualify as hazmat spills in North Charleston, SC.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not every hazmat spill will cause major damage. Sometimes they might be accidents like a canister of gas accidentally releasing a small amount during transit. While this technically poses a threat to the truck transporting it, as well as to the driver, it’s not as dangerous as a flammable liquid spilling near a hot engine. Hazmat spills are a large category, and it’s important to look closely at the data to better understand what’s being discussed.

Other spill concerns

One development that has greatly increased the risk of hazmat spills in North Charleston, SC is the growth and proliferation of fracking. This single activity has created huge volumes of hazardous waste, most of which need to be transported. A particularly troublesome product is semi-processed frac water that really only contains water and salt. While this sounds innocuous, if it spills, it can ruin huge areas of farmland and other soil. Fracking byproducts have become more and more common in recent years, and our industry is prepared to meet these new challenges with tighter controls and regulations.

Accidents are a part of any business, but the best companies know how to train their employees to respond to them in a quick and safe manner. As a leader in everything from local port drayage to long-distance hazardous materials shipping, All Points Transport takes our obligations very seriously. Call us today and see why we should be your shipping company of choice!

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