spill clean up in workshop with absorbent boom and floor sweep

Having effective spill management procedures and spill kits in place is vital for industries including construction, civil engineering and manufacturing, as accidental spills can occur at any time. Even a spill of something seamingly harmless, such as milk or blood, can contaminate a waterway. Without the right procedures, any contaminating liquid can have a disastrous impact on the environment, not to mention lead to costly fines and intensive cleanup activities. Whether the spill is large or small, having spill management procedures and the right spill kit contents readily available is crucial so that staff can handle these situations safely, to avoid harming themselves and the environment.

Spill kit contents

Spill kit contents often vary depending on the industry and application. A spill kit is generally comprised of a container that is filled with a range of products such as gloves, a selection of absorbent materials / loose absorbents and several contaminated waste bags. Your spill kit contents can be customised to individual business needs based on factors such as location, the spill type and expected volume of the spill.

When choosing the right spill kit for your industry it’s crucial that you take into consideration the type of contaminants you’ll be dealing with, expected volume of the spills which could occur, whether you are requiring a permanent or temporary solution and what the government legislation outlines for environmental control in your region and industry. To comply with regulations it’s important to get the right advice on spill kit contents and procedures.

Spill management procedures

Spills can be treated differently based on the scenario and volume. To help you identify the difference between a minor and large spill you will need to refer to your company policies. The determination of size and spill management procedures will be unique to each business and it’s site / facility. To give you an idea of how the procedures can differ, they are outlined below:

Minor Spills

Assess safety first. Ensure that everyone in the vicinity of the spill is kept clear of any danger and that those dealing with the spill have adequate training, equipment and spill kit contents.

Stop the spill at the source. Only if it’s safe to do so, try to stop the spill at the source. Whether this involves sealing any holes or cracks in a container or even turning it upright.

Try to contain the spill and clean it up. Mop the spill up as soon as it occurs using the appropriate spill kit contents.

Make sure to record the spill. Always record how, where, when, what and why the spill occurred, as well as any of the cleanup procedures that were undertaken to fix the spill. It’s also good to note any changes you believe should be made to the handling, storing or transporting of chemicals.

Large Spills

Assess safety first. Ensure that everyone in the vicinity of the spill is kept clear of any danger and that those dealing with the spill have adequate training, equipment and spill kit contents.

Refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). With larger or more concentrated spills its crucial that you consult the MSDS before dealing with the spill.

Dress in protective clothing (PPE). Before dealing with this type of spill you must be wearing protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, an apron and a mask.

Stop the spill at the source. Check to see if it’s safe, then try to stop the spill at the source. This could involve plugging up any leaks or cracks or even uprighting an overturned container.

Try to contain the spill and control the flow. Your focus on containing the spill is to prevent it filtering into the ground or stormwater system. Use the spill kit contents, rags, blankets, sandbags or even mops and absorbent brooms to do this.

Cleaning up the spill. Cover the spill with the absorbent materials found in the spill kit. Make sure to use the materials recommended in the MSDS. Once the absorbent materials have soaked up the spill, dispose of these by referring to government regulations on handling a hazardous substance.

Make sure to notify the relevant authority. In situations where the spill has contaminated the stormwater drain or open ground, you need to notify the Department of Environment and Regulation and your local council.

Always record the spill. Note down any witnesses and record how the spill occurred, as well as when, why and where it happened.

For further spill management advice and purchasing spill kits, contact the experts at Akuna Services today.

Specialising in products for environmental protection and site compliance, we have everything you need to keep the environment and your site, staff and assets safe in case of spills. Akuna also provides a wide range of services including spill response training, stormwater product installation and maintenance and environmental risk assessments.