Accidents in the workplace are inevitable, particularly when it comes to spills. The safest workplaces always presume there will be an accident and plan ahead accordingly for when spills happen. A spill kit is vital in the manufacturing and industrial industries, it is also a necessity in construction, civil engineering and government workplaces. When buying a spill kit, it’s important to realise that spill kit contents vary and must be suited to the industry and spill type they are required for.
It is extremely important that the staff using the spill kit are properly trained to minimise injuries or further damage from the spill. The staff need to know exactly what the spill kit contents are and how to use them efficiently. When selecting a spill kit, there are 5 main things that need to be taken into consideration.
1. Adequate sizing
Spill kits and spill kit contents come in all shapes and sizes. Purchasing one that is too small for the largest spill possible will deem the spill kit inadequate. Before buying a spill kit, the user must take into account the type of spill (e.g. chemical) that will need to be cleaned up and choose a spill kit that is designed for that substance and volume of the largest potential spill.
Some workplaces may have multiple types of spills that will need various sized spill kits. A facility may need a large one for large spills and then a smaller more compact one for common everyday spills. Purchasing more than one spill kit in different sizes ultimately saves the company money in the long term as there will always be an adequately sized spill kit on hand to deal with any spill, preventing damage.
2. Suitable spill kit contents
Spill kits and spill kit contents vary largely. A spill kit that is designed to clean up oil will be useless when tackling corrosive spills. Anyone who is buying a spill kit must identify what may potentially spill so they can ensure they will have the appropriate spill kit contents to deal with it.
Spill kits can be customised and labelled for clarity on what spill they are suitable for. It is always best to purchase a spill kit from a reputable company who can advise on the exact spill kit contents needed to clean up the spill substance properly.
3. Easy to move
Many companies that use spill kits are large facilities. It is not common to have a spill kit located in every area of the workplace, so it is important that the main spill kits can be transported easily. Often spill kit contents can be placed into a carry bag, bucket or backpack that can be easily carried to the area that the spill has occurred. For large facilities, such as warehouse or construction zones, a smaller spill kit will not be adequate enough to clean up larger spills. In these cases, the spill kit containers must have wheels or be on a trailer. There should be no obstructions in front of the spill kit when moving it to any possible location.
The safety of the trained person using the spill kit should be at the forefront of one’s mind and because of this, the spill kit contents must contain appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).
PPE must be stored in the most easily accessible place of the spill kit and it must be appropriate for the spill that is being cleaned up. For example, an oil spill kit may contain completely different PPE than that of a chemical spill kit, which often contains a respiration mask in the spill kit contents.
5. Disposal of contaminated waste
Once you have absorbed the spill into mini booms, pillows, pads and floor sweeps / granular absorbents, you will have to take them away for disposal. Be sure to check that the spill kit you are considering has adequate contaminated waste disposal bags to clean up and take away the spent absorbents.
No matter the type of spill, it will always be a hazard. People within the area may not know the spill has occurred and it is often essential to block off the area to prevent slipping or personal injuries. Spill kit contents should contain bright and noticeable signs that will warm people of the spill or something to form a barricade, such as safety tape, to block off the area.