Chemical Engineering Expert Advises on Slip and Fall at Gas Station

Michael Morgenstern

Written by
— Updated on December 20, 2017

Chemical Engineering ExpertPlaintiff pulled up to the pumps at gas station located in Wyoming and proceeded to fill his gas tank. These pumps dispersed both gasoline and diesel with the diesel being the pump furthest to the right. Plaintiff positioned her car so that her gas tank was aligned with the unleaded pump handle and that put the driver door closest to the diesel pump. When alighting from the car the plaintiff slipped and fell on what she believes was diesel that had been spilled or leaked onto the ground. Her spinal injury from this fall required surgery.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are there separate and distinct standards for diesel pumps as opposed to regular gas pumps when it comes to maintenance, inspection, and/or clean up?
  • 2. Are there separate industrial chemicals that are more effective for diesel spill cleanup?
  • 3. Does the viscosity or slipperiness of diesel fuel create an inherently more dangerous slip and fall hazard requiring more stringent maintenance guidelines?

Expert Witness Response E-009330

I have been involved with gas station operations for over 30 years, and am extremely familiar with gas pump maintenance, inspection, safety, and clean up. I operated and maintained gas station franchises for BP and ARCO, with 1200 station under my management. Gas stations that operate with regular gas and diesel have to implement different standards for the care of both fuels. Exxon and 7/11 should have training procedures in place, that I had when I operated gas stations, that indicate diesel is more hazardous than gas when it is left in slip positions, due to the fact that it does not evaporate as rapidly. Environmental remediation kits (saw-dust like material) should be kept on site at all times, and employees should be trained to promptly use this on all diesel spills to prevent the type of incident that happened in this case. It should be well known in the industry that diesel fuel creates an inherently more dangerous slip and fall hazard, and the fact that this wasn’t cleaned immediately speaks to the negligence of the defendant in this case.

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