For companies that work with chemicals and other hazardous materials, large spills are a possibility. Effective, proper, and safe spill containment must be a top priority.
Effective Spill Containment Planning
Effective spill containment planning starts with a well-documented action plan. This plan should consider compliance with local regulations, site-specific safety concerns, numerous potential scenarios and solutions, and the level of comprehension of the respondents.
Response plans should be updated and changed accordingly. These plans should reflect any changes within the facility, including the operations and personnel.
An effective spill containment response plan should, at the very least, include:
- The location of emergency supplies and personal protective equipment.
- Always keep protective equipment and emergency supplies, including spill control equipment, accessible and nearby at all times.
- As an added precaution, take all protective measures before entering the storage area.
- A spill kit should at least contain absorptive materials, a shovel, and a sealed, spill container.
- Spill kits within the facility must be capable of handling larger spills.
- Multiple copies of the map, floor plan, and current inventory list of the storage unit, as well as labels of every chemical, stored in secure places outside of the storage area itself.
- Contact information of the first responders within the area, as well as a list of all the contents, stored within the facility.
For larger-scale storage facilities and high-risk storage units, consider coming up with a supplemental response plan on top of your spill containment response plan. This should include procedures for managing larger spills and fires involving hazardous chemicals – including, but not limited to, pesticides.
If possible, update your spill containment plan annually and have it viewed by your local first responders, such as the Fire Department.
Planning for the Worst-Case Scenario
It is very rare for spills to travel off site. An effective spill containment plan usually takes care of most spills very quickly. However, even with the presence of spill containment barriers, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
In cases where the spill can travel off site, especially in big spill scenarios, additional planning is necessary. This includes adding specific details such as the potential migration pattern of the spill, possible travel distance, and other locations where the spill might transfer to, in case it is not contained in time.
The ideal spill containment response plan should include more than just having spill control equipment ready and on standby. It should detail everything employees and responders need to know so they can respond properly – just in case a big spill occurs.
Also, detailed plans are one thing. Effective execution is another.
All staff members on-site should demonstrate a clear understanding and the ability to apply the company’s response plans.
Make sure to conduct regular training exercises involving company spill policies. This way, the company and its facilities are more likely to be prepared for all eventualities.
Remember, any incident, whether it’s big or small, can have a huge impact on your company..
Although you can never predict the extent of a spill, a comprehensive and functional response plan can help minimise the negative effects of emergency and crisis situations.
To know more about the tools you need to effectively plan for a large spill, visit our website.