How to use water absorbent socks for spill containment and clean up
Many people underestimate the true danger of water-based spills in the workplace. Just because a spill involves a non-aggressive liquid doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. According to the 2020 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, slip-and-fall accidents cost U.S. businesses nearly $10.84 billion annually.
If a worker walks onto an area with a water-based liquid spill, he or she could suffer from a slip-and-fall accident. This is why it’s important for business owners to take a proactive, timely approach towards cleaning up spills — be it a chemical or water-base liquid.
In this post, we’re going to share tips on how to clean up a water-based spill in the workplace. Anything from puddles due to heavy rain, to condensation, equipment and container leaks.
Control and confine the spill
The first step in cleaning up a water-based spill is to contain it. Meaning, ensuring the spill does not become any worse.
This can involve creating a diking barrier around a spill. Or, if the spill source is from a leak, collecting the liquid inside an appropriate containment unit.
By controlling and confining a spill, you’ll prevent your floors from turning into a slip hazard.
Containment spill berms
Depending on the severity of the spill, you may want to spread out a spill containment berm. This will confine and keep the liquid within a particular area.
For instance, if an above-ground tank is leaking a water-based chemical, you could lay out a berm underneath the source of the leak. Assuming the berm is large enough, it should catch the water-based liquid so it doesn’t spread on the floor.
Note: we talk about the differences between containment booms and berms in one of our previous blog posts. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse these two spill cleanup tools with one another. While booms and berms share some similarities, they have notable differences and use applications. Likewise, we’ll explain and compare absorbent booms versus socks below.
Containment dike spill barriers
Another great option for spill control is a containment dike. Unlike berms, which act like a container, a dike creates a flexible barrier wall around a spill. That is to say, dikes can enclose, seal-in, and trap spills that aren’t a uniform shape.
For example, you can wrap a dike to confine and channel a water spill where you want it. Or, more importantly where you don’t need it — and avoid a slippery floor puddle hazard! Similarly, dikes are excellent spill blockers. They help prevent contaminants from washing down workshop floor drains.
Because spill dike barriers are non-absorbent, like berms, they are easy to clean and reuse.
Absorbent sock and boom dike barriers
If you’re after a way to contain and absorb spills, then checkout water absorbent socks and booms.
Socks are ideal for smaller spills, and wrapping around equipment. Think soaking up condensation puddles under refrigeration and A/C units.
Meanwhile, booms are great at stopping and containing larger spills. Such as surrounding a leak from a sump pump or burst pipe.
Need an in-between or custom size? Overlap socks or use boom connection hardware for additional length. Or, cut down socks then re-seal with your own plastic zip tie. This way you can create the right size absorbent for even the largest cooler ice-melt leak.
Best of all, mildew-resistant water absorbing socks and booms are usually reusable. Which is not to say you can clean them in a washing machine and dryer. Rather, use a hand wringer to remove excess water or hang and air dry in the shade before reuse.
What’s the difference between absorbent socks and booms?
Although they look similar, the main difference between spill booms and socks is size. Which means the length, diameter, and absorbency of these two types of sorbents.
Flexible absorbent booms and socks are both great for diking. They easily surround and trap spills, acting like water absorbing snakes.
Connectable booms feature a tough mesh casing, polypropylene skin, and super absorbent poly filler. At 10′ long with a large diameter up to 8″, they offer a large absorbency capacity.
Meanwhile, universal absorbent socks are like a boom’s little brother. They have a 3″ diameter polypropylene skin and come in lengths of 3.5′ up to 12′. Inside the polypropylene sleeve is either absorbent cellulose or organic corn cob material.
Spill clean up
Once you’ve been able to properly contain a spill, you should then work on cleaning it up. The good news is that water-based spills are typically easier to clean. But the bad news is that you’ll still have to put some elbow grease into it.
There are several super absorbent product designs for spill cleanups. So use them to your advantage. For example, absorbent pads, mats, rolls, socks, and pillows can quickly soak up water-based liquids. A spill kit offers a convenient way to have an assortment of these supplies at hand.
Place these absorbent items into the heart of the spill so they will sponge up the liquid. When they are full, carefully remove them from the spill area. Then, dispose of them in a plastic garbage bag or incinerate. Continue soaking up the spill until there’s no remaining liquid left behind.
Color code your absorbent products
When choosing products to clean up a water-based spill, it’s best to stick with ones labeled “universal.” Meaning you can use them for a wide variety of instances, including both aggressive and non-aggressive spills.
Universal gray color spill cleanup products indicate all-purpose use. Which includes everything from water, to coolants and solvents. For chemical spills, you’ll want to use hazmat-specific yellow absorbents. While water-repelling white sorbents are for oil spill cleanup, including marine applications.
AbsorbentsOnline – your spill clean-up experts
It always pays to be ready when it comes to cleaning up water-based, oil, and chemical hazmat spills. AbsorbentsOnline is here to help!
We offer a wide range of spill cleanup and containment supplies. For all kinds of facilities, industries and market applications. Find everything you need from spill kits to emergency leak repair supplies. Check out our affordable pricing and bulk qty discounts.
Have questions about water absorbent spill containment products for your workplace? Contact Travis Zdrazil at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 869-9633.
This is a revision to a blog post with an original publish date of February 18, 2014