Any workplace that carries liquids or chemicals probably already has a spill kit on site. But for the uninitiated, a spill kit can seem like a waste of space, especially if spills don’t happen often. But even if you don’t think you need a spill kit, it’s often important to have one anyway, and this is why.
What’s A Spill Kit?
Spill kits are essential to help with the cleaning, disposal, and decontamination of waste in the event of a hazardous chemical spill.
Some common types of spill kits include:
General Spill Kits: These kits are made to be used for a wide range of purposes, including the cleanup of liquids and chemicals ( such as flood waters, blood, and sewage). Although they are a universal kit, workplaces often customize them to suit the exact liquids held at the workplace.
Chemical Spill Kits: Also known as Hazchem spill kits, are designed to neutralize, contain, and clean spills from most hazardous chemicals. These allow workers to safely clean things such as paints, acids, pesticides, and solvents.
Oil & Fuel Spill Kits: Also known as hydrocarbon kits, these kits can clean up dangerous liquids with the intention of not damaging wildlife or the environment.
What’s In A Spill Kit?
A spill kit should always contain the means to safely clean and dispose of a spilled liquid. To do this effectively, they must contain the following in differing quantities.
· Absorbent materials to soak up the spilled chemical.
· Containment booms to stop the chemical from spreading into waterways or to other parts of the workplace.
· Personal protective equipment to safeguard the workers, this includes gloves, goggles, and aprons to name a few.
· Waste disposal bags to help remove contaminated absorbents and booms.
· Containers to place the used materials.
· Equipment to assist with clean-up such as brooms, scoops, and shovels.
How Do You Know What You Need?
In order to make sure you have the right spill kit, in the right spaces and in the right quantities, you should know the chemicals your workplace carries, the quantities of these chemicals, and the dangerous goods class.
To properly understand the risks unique to your workplace, and all the above information, you should conduct a risk assessment. This will let you know what spill hazards exist and how to prepare for them. This will also tell you the type of spill kits and quantities you need for each work area.
Understandably this is a tough task for workplaces to take on alone, so you can always call in the experts at Spill Station Australia, the leading spill kit supplier in Australia, to handle your risk assessment and audit your workplace to see what’s necessary to keep your workers, facilities and the environment as safe as possible.
Should Every Spill Be Cleaned Up In-House?
Sometimes workplace officials see a spill and think to call the emergency services. This is a good plan but isn’t always necessary. The best thing to do is try to contain the spill yourself, before calling the emergency services. This is because a spill can cause a range of hazards, and they can include the following:
Human Injury: Eye injuries, chemical burns, damage to the respiratory system, and poisoning can occur to people.
Property Damage: Fire damage, and corrosion to materials, property, vehicles, and facilities can occur to spaces.
Environmental Pollution: By contaminating soil and waterways you can contribute to wildlife damage that may be irreversible.
In addition to the above, some ramifications to workplaces, management, and workers themselves include:
Legal Issues: If found to be complicit in not following the Australian Standards for workplace safety, a workplace can face fines and jail time.
Reputation Issues: If safety procedures aren’t followed, the reputation of the brand will decrease due to media coverage.