Essential Insights to Help Prepare for Unforeseen Spills at Work
Even though you do your best to be careful, workplace spills—whether it’s a chemical, oil, or other liquid—are commonplace. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to escalate into a major problem. With the proper equipment you can prepare in advance to swiftly and safely handle any spill. By keeping spill kits readily available you’ll greatly increase your chances of avoiding potentially hazardous situations.
Spill control becomes seamless with the correct kits on hand, allowing you to jump into action when an accident happens. No matter what your spill consists of, you must be able to contain it quickly and effectively. Spill kits are available in various sizes and types. At a minimum, kits should contain heavy duty absorbent pads, socks, pillows, disposal bags, and personal protective equipment (PPE) like goggles and gloves. This not only helps you comply with OSHA regulations but ensures a comprehensive approach to spill containment.
Choosing an Appropriate Spill Kit
Before selecting a spill kit, determine what type you might need for your facility. Consider what it is that could potentially spill. You also have to think about how large that spill could be. The appropriate spill kits must be able to deal with the both the volume and specific substance you need to contain. You will not get the performance you want if you do not choose the correct kit.
There are three main categories of spill kits, each tailored to different spill scenarios. The following will help you determine what type of spill kits you should have in the event of an emergency.
1. Oil Only Spill Kits
Designed specifically for hydrocarbon-based spills, these kits are suitable to use indoors and outdoors. Oil-only absorbents are white in color and repel water, meaning they won’t absorb water or water-based chemicals. This makes oil spill kits perfect for clean-ups on waterways and contained bodies of water.
2. Universal Spill Kits
These serve as general-purpose spill kits and include gray sorbents capable of handling a variety of fluids like coolants, paint, solvents, and non-hazardous chemicals. Universal absorbent spill kits are ideal for workshops and in areas where smaller spills may occur. As long as you don’t need to separate oil from water, universal kits can clean up the entire spill at once.
3. HazMat Spill Kits
Tailored for hazardous materials—whether oil-based or not—the yellow absorbents in hazmat kits handle caustic and aggressive chemical spills. Because of the wide variety of chemicals used in industry, most hazmat kits do not include special protective accessories to keep workers safe during the clean-up process. So, be sure to customize hazmat kits with protective clothing, respirators, or other accessories specific to chemicals handled at your facility before any emergency response is necessary.
Specialty Spill Response Kits
In addition to the three spill kits above, there are also specialty cleanup kits available that are designed for niche industries. These include mercury spill kits, battery acid spill kits, and biohazard spill kits for body fluids.
Selecting the Right Size Spill Kit
After determining the type of spill kits you need, you need to figure out the correct size(s) for your particular spill containment requirements. Here are some ideas to consider when calculating the right size:
- How big is your typical spill? Evaluate the quantity and volume of fluids kept at your facility. A simple bucket kit may be suitable to handle small spills up to five gallons. Whereas for bigger spills, a 95-gallon spill kit or large mobile cart kit is what you will need to have on hand.
- Where do you store spill kits? Set up well marked spill stations near potential spill sites such as storage areas or warehouse floors. From smaller wall-mount spill kits to portable spill caddies, keeping them accessible and within reach ensures safety and the ability to take quick action.
- What type of containers do you need? Think about the environment potential spills may occur in your workplace. For in-transit spills (think cargo or fleet vehicles), portable spill kits are a great option to tuck inside the cab of a truck or forklift. Whereas in larger spaces, like a loading dock, a highly visible and weatherproof poly drum spill kit container may be a great option.
Be Prepared with Supplementary Spill Containment Solutions
Cleaning spills in drainage systems is more costly than on land. For additional protection, especially if spills could reach storm or sewer drains, keep drain covers on hand. Other stormwater protection products like spill dikes, catch basin skimmers, and drain plugs can prove invaluable, too. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Your One-Stop Spill Management Shop
In the end, the most important thing about spill kits is that you have them where you need them when you need them. Choosing AbsorbentsOnline.com is your first step in assuring a safe workplace environment. We are always happy to answer questions and offer free advice. Let us help you select spill kits to ensure you are meeting all legal requirements and safety standards.
Find answers to these frequently asked questions about spill kits:
- What Do Spill Kits Contain?
- How Do I Use a Spill Kit?
- How Often Should Spill Kits Be Inspected?
- Where Should Spill Kits Be Located?
This is a revision to a blog post with an original publication date of August 15, 2018.