If your workplace is exposed to Hydrocarbons or other hazardous chemical substances, then the ever-present dangers that are associated with an accidental spill are your responsibility. Hazardous chemicals have the potential to release harmful pollutants into the environment and affect the surrounding areas.
In case of a spill, it’s important to have the area cleaned up fast and efficiently. A Spill Kit is an efficient and economical cleanup kit that has been designed for use in the cleanup effort.
In some specific locations, it is also a legal requirement to have a spill kit in place especially if dealing with biohazards. It also forms a vital part of the safety and environmental procedures you have in place for dealing with potentially dangerous liquids. The typical absorbent spill kit options available include universal or general purpose, chemical, and oil and fuel models.
Who Uses Spill Kits?
Some of the industries that can be expected to use spill kits include warehouses, transport companies, laboratories, manufacturers, restaurants, docks, marinas and many other commercial establishments, and restaurants. The equipment is to assist in keeping a ready supply of absorbents for use in any cleanup exercise.
In general, your work area is likely to contain permanent fixtures, a hand washing sink, safety shower, and an eye wash station. At least, there should also be a spill kit on hand that should always be well stocked.
Design of Spill Kits
Rules concerning what should be contained in a spill kit can vary depending on the site, but in general, you could expect at least the following to be present:
- Biohazard bags
- Respirators or masks
- Eye protection
- Shoe covers
- Sharps containers and/or tools used in picking up broken glass or/and sharp objects
- Absorbent material specifically designed for handling the type of hazard on site
In addition, the absorbents are flexible when it comes to their absorbing potential and design, largely based on the kind of liquid that needs to be stored, sorbents could feature one of the following designs:
Universal or general purpose: This is designed for handling a wide range of no corrosive type of spilled liquids
Oil and fuel: This is ideal for spills that are oil based
HAZCHEM: To handle aggressive chemicals.
Types of Spill Kits
In general, there are three main types of spill kits, with variations in detail.
The most widespread is what is termed as the Universal Spill Kit or General Purpose kit meant for containing non-hazardous liquids types. The materials contained in this type of kit are perfect for absorbing coolants, water, solvents and antifreeze.
Marine Spill Kits which can also be known as oil and fuel kits are ideal for oil spills as they are equipped and designed for handling grease and other forms of oil-based liquids. These are good for repelling water, and that’s why they come highly recommended during oils spills that have happened on water bodies like oceans.
The third category is Workshop type of absorbents that are suitable for hydrocarbons and other hazardous chemicals. These are necessary for manufacturing plants and industries.
Spill kits are available in a variety of styles like the wall mounted or portable case kits. These types are attached to nearby wall surfaces to facilitate quick and easy use. They are accessible in lots of sizes and shapes, each designed to fit into particular situations. In particular, portable spill kits are made for latching on to any surface.
The majority of these spill kits range from just 20L to in excess of 200L in terms of size. They can be employed for successfully storing absorbents on the work site until when they will be required.
Spill Kit Benefits
It is very beneficial to have a spill kit at your workplace. They come in a variety of size bags/containers and contain specially made absorbent materials that will soak up, absorb and contain a leak or spill. They are designed to help you comply with relevant Pollution Prevention Guidelines as well as other workplace regulations including health and safety.
The foremost benefit is the security of those who are working in the area. The spill kit contents have been designed for containing and properly cleaning up the spill while keeping those doing the cleaning safely. You never know what the hazardous stuff could do to exposed skin or the reaction thereafter.
Another benefit is in terms of finances because by acquiring the kit you will be having what will be required to contain a spill without incurring extra expenditure. You will mitigate extra costs, especially during an emergency spill. In the end, having spill kits turns out to be a company saving measure both financially and in terms of storage space.
Similar to any type of equipment in your work area or lab, it is essential to familiarise yourself with all the tools and items included in a spill kit. Everyone around you should understand their usage instructions. In any work environment, your first priority should be safety, especially in environments that are risky such as where hazardous materials are in use. Properly used, a spill kit forms part of your overall safety measures and should never be neglected.