Spill kits are an essential addition to any workplace which works with hazardous chemicals. Coming in a variety of sizes, a spill kit usually consists of PPE, absorbents and disposal bags or containers.
Due to the nature of hazardous materials, reaction times are critical when it comes to effectively stopping a spill from spreading or contaminating other areas. The majority of spills can be prevented or at least their impacts minimised by doing the folowing:
- Performing a hazard assessment/review before carrying out any procedures which include the use and or transportation of hazardous liquids and chemicals.
- Keeping work and operating areas organised and tidy.
- Using a secondary container to move any liquids/chemicals.
- Storing reagent chemicals sealed at all times, except for when using/removing contents.
- Keep Ordering reagent chemicals in plastic or plastic coated glass containers whenever possible.
- Make sure staff members know where hazardous chemicals are, and where to find the nearest spill kit.
Even with the very best of training, taking every precaution you can sometimes isn’t enough to stop an accident from happening. If you come across or cause a spill, locate the nearest spill kit, and do the following:
Look after Number One
Never put yourself in the way of danger. Each spill kit should come with a number of PPE items, mainly a pair of safety goggles, gloves and in some cases a disposable overall.
Minimise contamination elsewhere
if a spill is close to a waterway or a drain, the first thing to do is to use absorbent booms/snakes to protect grates and to help control the spread and direction of the spill. Place them down at the forward edge of the spill – the direction the liquid or chemical is moving.
Your spill kit should also come with a selection of absorbent pads and pillows. Once you’re satisfied the spill is contained, use these to soak up excess fluid from surfaces.
Once the spill has been effectively absorbed, safely dispose of any used absorbents. Most kits come with a disposal bag, or in some cases the bucket which contained the kit is used to store the used absorbents.
For more information on hazardous waste, please read the Hazardous Waste Regulations from the Environment Agency.