Imagine a workplace where you see overfilled containers splashing the fluid content here and there, splashes of spills on the ground at the waste collection area, stains of old spills forgotten to be cleaned up by the workers.
You also might be tempted to ignore these small mishaps as they don’t require an immediate response. The spill response measures usually focus on worst-case scenarios that require immediate attention but in reality, most of the spill accidents are not the worst-case scenarios. These small spills and leaks are a disturbance to day-to-day activities and also represents negligence at the workplace. These small spills need cleaning up even though they don’t warrant evacuation and immediate spill response.
Being prepared for small spills and leaks that hinder daily activities is a good idea as it keeps the habit of being vigilant and ready for any unforeseen circumstances at the workplace. Placing the small cleanup kits for a spill at strategic places will promote safety at the workplace. By promoting such habits, the employees will be more aware of the problem and it will eventually make them more alert and responsive. Apart from the big hazards associated with the spills, there are also other problems such as slip and fall which might harm the employees physically, or might lead to other accidents.
The accumulation of small spills left unattended can also lead to pollution when the spilled content goes into the drain. It can also be carried away by shoes to other places accelerating the floor wear. This in turn will increase the maintenance cost of the workplace and it will also look dirty and unpleasant.
Spill Classification and Compliance
Now, spill response, spill containment, and cleanup can be done efficiently after training and making it habitual as we discussed above. It is also important for the employees to understand that identifying the type of spill and the danger it poses is the first step before appropriately responding to contain and clean it. The employees working at the spill-prone sites should be aware of the OSHA and EPA guidelines. They should be trained to follow the contingency plan. They should be aware of their roles when such an incident occurs in the workplace to avoid any misunderstanding and improve collaboration.
A spill is classified as incidental or emergency depending upon the extent of harm it can do to the surroundings if it can be contained easily or not.
An incidental spill can be contained by employees and pose no significant threat to employee’s life or the surrounding environment. A spill can be called an emergency spill if it poses a serious threat to lives and surroundings. Determining the type of spill also changes the applicable OSHA guidelines and mandated training that should be imparted to the employees.
Incidental Spill Prevention
As we have discussed, the guidelines and regulations usually focus on worst-case scenarios. But the spill incidents happening on daily basis are a nuisance to the employees as well as for the day to day work. We shouldn’t forget that incidental spills can also become emergency spills if we don’t take proper action on time.
For example, if a hazardous spill ends up in a waterway via the drainage system, it will be considered an emergency. Sometimes, the combination of two hazardous spill content might lead to an emergency. In such situations, the knowledge of fluid composition becomes a key factor to prevent an accident. That is why having spill kits near spill-prone areas can be the difference between an incidental spill and an emergency spill.
Spill kits are a combination of containment, cleanup, and personal safety equipment. The spill kits usually contain products based on the type of spill that may occur at the site. For emergency response, apart from the spill kit, you will also need a proper contingency plan and procedure to be followed by your trained employees.
Sorbene is a range of spill absorbent products developed by Log 9 Spill containment private limited, a subsidiary of Log 9 materials scientific private limited.
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Originally published at https://www.sorbene.com on January 5, 2021.