A Guide to Facility Spill Kits
Spills are a presumed occurrence in most workplaces, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Industrial spills create slipping hazards and depending on the substance, may pose a serious risk to human or environmental health. Prevention is the most effective solution for avoiding spills, but you should always be prepared for an emergency.
You will want to assess the, pipes, vats, storage tanks, and other containers to identify the “worst case scenario” in the event of the spill. What is at risk? What are the hazards? The hazard level of spills and your response plan will depend on the substance spilled; an oil spill in a small warehouse and the spill from a 75-gallon chemical drum that has the potential for polluting the water supply require two very different response plans and spill kits.
No matter the nature of the spill however, the sooner it is addressed the better. Spills are fast spreading and you need to control and contain the spill before it gets worse. Spill kits are an important part of a spill response plan, ensuring the individuals responding will have the right tools for controlling, containing, and cleaning the spill at hand. These kits are stored in potential spill zones rather than in a central location for easy access.
What’s in a spill kit?
Specific contents will vary from kit to kit, but generally include the same kinds of materials. A typical spill kit will consist of absorbents (socks, mats, rolls, pillows, loose absorbents), PPE to protect the worker cleaning the spill (typically some kind of disposable gloves), something to pick up and clean the spill (scoops, towels, etc.), relevant and important information about possible dangers or safety precautions, and some type of container for disposal (usually the spill kit bin or large bag), and instructions for proper disposal.
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Spill kits are sold by type and size. Before purchasing a spill kit, gather the information you need by taking a walk around your facility and performing and in-depth assessment. Take note of all possible spill areas, identify what type of liquid is at risk, and determine just how big the spill could be. Spill kits come in containers ranging from a small one-gallon bucket to 90-gallon containers and you need one that has the capacity to handle the largest possible spills.
Absorbents are arguably the most important part of a spill kit so be thorough in your research, ensuring you select a kit that fits the needs of your facility. Universal spill kits are the most basic type of kit and designed to absorb different types of industrial fluids like common solvents, oils, coolants, water-based products, etc. Other kits common in industrial facilities include hazmat emergency spill kits, personal protection spill kits, and more specific ones like battery acid spill kits.
You will want to ultimately refer to the Safety Data Sheets to develop an effective spill plan, keeping OSHA regulations in mind. Keep workers safe and minimize the potential danger of spills by exploring prevention methods, creating a spill response team, getting the right control materials and spill kit, providing the appropriate PPE, and training your employees on safe spill response procedures.
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