If your workplace deals in oil or any type of chemical that might cause a spill accident then it becomes imperative to perform a spill risk assessment for making informed safety decisions.
A spill can occur during transportation, handling, or at the place where the hazardous fluids are stored. By making sure to assess the possible case scenarios for spill can prepare you and your team for quick and practical spill response. A spill becomes more dangerous with time. If your workers are aware of what to do during the accident, the damage that could happen at your workplace can be effectively minimized.
Workplace safety is thus a very fundamental and important issue for industries and workers alike. Make sure your employees are aware of the risks and steps they need to follow during a spill crisis. They should have an understanding of assessing the situation effectively and communicating it to others with clarity.
There are three steps that can be followed to assess the risk:
1. Make a list of all the equipment, locations where a spill could happen. It could be pipe joints, storage rooms, drums containing hazardous materials, etc. Also, make a list of the chemicals and their properties such as ignition temperature.
2. Calculate the possible extent of the spill accident that could occur, what are the chances of the spill happening at various locations, etc.
3. Take preventive measures, set guidelines to be followed when working at spill-prone locations, or handling hazardous materials.
It is a good practice to make a document (Safety Data Sheets) with all the necessary information regarding the spill risk assessment. You can use a software tool such as MS Excel to make a list of the following:
* Item name and location.
* Type and properties of substance/Hazchem being stored or in use.
* Quantity of the substance, pressure, and temperature.
* Vulnerabilities may cause a spill such as an impact, force, etc.
* What precautions or safety measures have been put in place?
* Past records of spills or accidents that have happened.
* What is the expected time for a spill response?
After making a list, your team of experts can start assessing the risk and place proper measures in place.
Even after taking all the precautions, a spill accident can still happen due to some unforeseen factors. The workers should be trained to assess the spill accident and how to prevent it from further damaging the surroundings. It is advisable to always remain calm when judging the situation and taking proper measures accordingly.
What to do during a spill accident?
Never try to touch, smell, or walk through the spill. If you find anyone unconscious or injured, don’t rush without thinking. Notice the surroundings and make sure there are no dangerous elements around before trying to help. Always wear personal protective equipment when entering a spillage area. Ensure that PPEs are easily accessible whenever necessary.
Take notice of how big the spill is and what is the source or origin? Is it possible to reach the source safely? Is the spill spreading to a sensitive area? These questions will allow a better understanding of the situation at hand and planning a proper response. Make sure there are guidelines in place that can be followed in such situations. If it is difficult to determine the nature of the spill, assume the worst-case scenario when handling the situation. There are various methods available to determine the nature of the spill such as pH papers, gas detectors, etc. Use them in hard to assess situations to determine the content of the spills.
Taking the time to assess the situation makes it easier to handle the spill. Hence, Proper training in spill assessment is without a doubt worth all the efforts.
After the assessment, the next step is to control the spill followed by the cleanup process. Learn more about the critical steps necessary for effective spill response.
Originally published at https://www.sorbene.com on November 16, 2020.