No matter if it is an office environment, a factory, or a warehouse, accidents happen in every work place. Most organisations are armed with fire wardens, the most contemporary first aid kits and first aid trained staff. However, not all offices are armed with spill kits, and they should be.
Contrary to popular belief, spill kits aren’t just relevant for chemical spills. There are 3 main types; a universal spill kit, a chemical spill kit and an oil spill kit. The differences are outlined below.
An oil spill kit
Oil spill kits are a vital safety tool in any workplace that is dealing with oil. This includes areas of an organisation where external objects or machines, such as construction machines or a car, are brought in with grease or oil inside them. If there is a risk of them leaking their internal contents, an oil spill kit is needed.
The contents of this kit can be customised for indoor, outdoor and near waterway use. They are designed to clean up the spill safely and efficiently, whilst preventing it from spreading further. The smallest type of oil spill kit available is able to clean up a spill of 7 litres, but the spill kits can also be large enough to clear up to 475 litres.
An oil spill kit will contain spill solving materials, absorbent mats, PPE including aprons or overalls, specially designed disposable bags, googles, gloves and shoe covers. Depending on the oil spill kit available, there will either be a tank vacuum or a dust pan to dispose of the spill.
A chemical spill kit
It is Australian standards to have an efficient chemical spill kit on hand when chemicals are present in the workplace. There are a plethora of chemical spill kits available including kits for caustic acids, hazmat or Hazchem. Chemical spill kits contents can be customised to perfectly suit a workplace and reduce the risk of injury effectively.
Chemical spill kits will always contain absorbents. This may include absorbent pads (popular in commercial spill kits) or universal spill pillows. Chemical spill kits may also come inclusive of sand or bicarbonate sodium which can be mixed to work as an absorbent. This method of absorption is never a good option for clearing hydrofluoric acid spills.
Chemical spills can be detrimental to personal health and the damage caused can be devastating to a company’s revenue. Due to this, chemical spill kits will include neutralisers such as calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate.
Due to the nature of chemical spills, PPE should be included at the most accessible part of the spill kit. Trained people cleaning up chemical spills should always use goggles, a face shield, specialised gloves, disposable coats and vinyl shoe covers.
When it comes to actually cleaning the spill, the tools generally found as part of the chemical spill clean up kit contents will include a dust pan, a large bucket with a lid for chemical storage and occasionally a vacuum if the substance is so hazardous that it can’t be near human skin.
Universal spill kits
Universal spill kits are suitable for smaller and less potentially damaging spills. These general purpose kits are commonly used to absorb coolants, paint, blood, fluids, degreasers and less damaging chemicals.
Universal spill kit contents will need to contain PPE, no matter how small the spill is considered to be. They also need to contain a secured bucket for safe disposal of the spill and an effective absorbent such as absorbent pads, to stop the spill spreading.