Deciding if, when and what spill solutions to implement at your workplace isn’t your decision alone. There are specific EPA and OH&S regulations that mandate what you should have onsite in terms of spill containment.
These regulations are put in place to keep business, the environment and staff safe – but many people are confused by and unaware of how to follow them, which means there is a good chance you also aren’t meeting them.
These regulations cover things like spill products, spill prevention and response, and safety equipment and training. Non-compliance can result in serious costs and issues for your business and your staff.
Luckily, while the consequences and requirements of these regulations are complex, achieving them isn’t. Making just one change to your spill preparation can ensure you don’t fall victim to the serious consequences.
Compliance shouldn’t be assumed
It is common to believe that because a product is being marketed and sold as a spill solution, that it is compliant. However, many common spill containment products on the market do not meet EPA regulations.
This includes kitty litter – a widely used absorbent for spills that is actually non-compliant to EPA standards.
By using the wrong solutions for spill containment, by not having the adequate products and safety equipment on hand, or by failing to train and prepare all staff for spills, you will be non-compliant, and face numerous consequences, including:
If a spill is not adequately contained and finds its way into the local environment, you face a hefty EPA fine. The same can occur if you dispose of spill products into landfill when they don’t meet absorbency standards.
Continuing to use products with subpar absorbency capabilities will mean you are required to source an alternative disposal method. This isn’t always easy – and is never cheap.
Injury or illness
Poorly trained staff, or staff that don’t have proper access to appropriate spill solutions can result in injury or illness if they come in contact with harmful chemicals or slip on spilled fluids.
In the event legal action is taken against you because of the result of a spill or non-compliance, you need to be able to prove you’ve done everything in your power to prevent and respond to spills. By not having the right products, equipment and training in place, you won’t have a leg tot stand on.
Four key steps to spill compliance
While the consequences of non-compliance are complex, safeguarding your business and staff from them is actually quite simple.
Ensuring you’ve minimised your spill risks and are prepared to respond to them if and when they do happen goes a long way to confirming compliance, and can be achieved with a little bit of research and education.
EPA and OH&S regulations can vary state to state, but there are four key non-negotiable regulations you should be following to ensure compliance:
- Make sure your spill products absorb at least their own weight of fluid
- Ensure your spill products don’t leave leakage or residue
- Enable easy access to appropriate protective gear
- Supply all staff with adequate spill safety knowledge and training
Kill three spill requirements with one stone
You may be worried about the extra costs, time or effort these four steps might mean for you. But in reality, three of the four steps can be achieved simply by investing in fit for purpose spill kits.
A spill kit that has been assembled to include everything you require – and ensures all products meet regulations – allows everything to be taken care of for you.
The fit for purpose spill kit you choose should contain:
- All the products you need for effective spill containment
- Be fluid-specific,
- Contain the appropriate safety gear
- Made from sustainable, landfill-friendly materials.
After assessing your site-specific needs, you will be able to identify the kit that’s right for you. From there, it’s simply a case of replacing kits and items where necessary and ensuring your staff know where the kit is, and when and how to use it.
Remember, not all spill kits and spill containment products are created equal. Enretech makes fit for purpose spill kits that contain products that are made from sustainable materials, have the highest possible absorbency rate and are fluid and site specific.