Chemical spills. Fuel spills. Acid spills. Oil spills.
While different spills may require slightly different approaches or spill kits during the clean-up process, these spills have at least once thing in common: if a spill is large enough, before it can be cleaned it needs to be contained. And to do this worksites need to ensure that they have more than a standard spill kit at the ready.
Typically spill kits contain three types of equipment: personal protective equipment, absorbents designed to clean-up small spills, and some additional equipment that helps clean larger spills. But while using the right absorbent product in a timely manner is very important, these kits do not help workers complete one of the first steps workers need to take in the event of a spill at work: properly confining and controlling a spill.
This is particularly important if the spill occurs on uneven ground or if it’s located near any potential draining areas, as this increases the chance that the spilled components will cause environmental problems or negatively affect a local community. An uncontrolled spill and an improper response to it can also result in expensive fines from a variety of safety organizations.
To properly contain and control a spill, work sites need to invest in the right equipment for the job. Currently there’s a range of spill control and containment tools out there that can help, including:
- Socks and Dikes: Absorbent socks and non-absorbent dikes are highly recommended by many experts when containing a spill within a certain area. Ideally the height of any dikes or socks used will be twice that of a spill’s depth. Workers also need to provide plenty of width to their containment circle to prevent any potential overflow. Once a properly sealed containment area has been laid down, workers can begin applying their absorbent product of choice to soak up the contained spill.
- Drain Covers and Plugs: If a spill is moving towards a drain, the #1 priority is to use a cover or non-permanent plug on any drains within the area; this will protect your company from a potential fine, but more importantly will ensure that any spilled acids, chemicals, gasoline and other industrial products can’t escape into the local drains and cause damage within a nearby community.
- Berms: Got heavy duty machinery onsite? Consider looking into the use of berms. Berms are a great spill control tool that can be used to create a barrier of any shape around machinery or drum storage areas, both indoors or out. Think of them as a first or final line of defense in your spill cleaning efforts.
- Booms: If you work on or near water it’s worth investing in booms, which are essential during an on-water spill response. It’s also good to practice booming tactics, from regular containment to diversion booming, so that employees are ready to respond in the event of a spill.
- Tool Accessories: There’s no point in investing in control tools if you don’t take care of them. Spill control accessories include cases for socks and drain plugs, carry bags for drain covers, wall mount storage units, and more – all of which will ensure your control tools remain undamaged and ready for use.
Tools like these are a crucial part of your spill response system. Don’t forget to make sure that you have enough of them on stand-by for use in the event of a spill and to schedule a routine practice drill!