While it’s important to be properly prepared for any kind of spill, it’s big spills that pose the biggest risk to your business. Therefore, it’s important to treat them with the attention they deserve.
Good preparation plays a big part, the steps you take (and the order you take them in) are just as important when trying to contain, and ultimately clean, larger spills.
Sometimes it can be hard to know (or remember) what to do first – especially if you need to act quickly. But an inability to follow the right procedures can result in making the situation worse.
Having a specific, step-by-step guide to follow can make large spill containment much easier – and much safer. So, we’ve put one together to help you efficiently and effectively contain big spills.
Doing it wrong can be as bad as not doing it at all
Large spills are a pain for lots of reasons – loss of product, halted productivity, extended clean ups. But there are a couple of problems you face in the event of a major spill that are much more serious:
- Danger to people
- Impact on environment
Risk to personal safety is most often caused by using the wrong or insufficient safety equipment when cleaning up a spill. This is particularly pertinent for hazardous chemicals, but any fluid can affect health and safety if not carefully handled.
Harmful impact on the environment is another risk for any spill. But in the case of bigger spills, not following the right procedures can mean more fluid than necessary being spilt– increasing the difficulty of clean up and the likelihood that it will end up spreading into the environment.
As you can see, there is a high risk of further damages if you’re not prepared and don’t take the right spill containment steps in the right order.
7 steps to successfully clean a spill
Before you even start thinking about spills, you should ensure you have a couple of things prepared onsite to make clean up easier. This includes an emergency plan (especially if using hazardous/dangerous chemicals) and an SDS (safety data sheet) for every fluid you have onsite. These should both be kept somewhere safe, so they can’t be destroyed.
These two documents will make it easier for staff to follow correct procedures and ensure the right safety measures are followed every time a spill occurs.
From here, you should be following these seven spill containment steps every time you experience a major spill:
- Assess the risk. Check for any dangers or risks that are immediately obvious. Look at the emergency plan and check the SDS for details about the fluid that has been spilt
- Ensure proper safety equipment is being worn. This information should be available on the SDS and will be dependent on fluid type. Also determine if the buddy system is required
- Stop the leak/spill at the source. Determine where the spill is coming from and patch or plug it, to stop more fluid being spilt
- Confine the spill. If the spill is moving or spreading, use preventative products (such as booms and drain covers) to stop it moving further
- Use spill solutions/floor sweep to pick up the fluid. Apply fluid-appropriate pads first to absorb the spill, then use a floor sweep to pick up leftover residue
- Decontaminate your equipment. Hose down all safety wear and equipment so there’s no problems when you use it next time
- Report the incident in writing. This should be part of your emergency plan. Have a system in place that outlines what reports need to cover and who they need to go to
Make spill containment simple
If you work with fluids, oils and chemicals, spills are inevitable part of your job. But they only cause major problems when you’re not fully prepared.
Big spills don’t have to mean big problems for your site. With the right procedures and the correct, fit-for-purpose spill containment equipment and products, you can turn them from a major disaster to a small delay.
By simply following a step-by-step guide, you can ensure:
- Minimised product wastage
- Increased productivity
- Improved health and safety conditions
- Reduced environmental impact
Having the right plan in place is the first step – the next is ensuring your spill containment products are up to scratch.
Enretech are a leading supplier of organic, sustainable spill products – and hold the title for world’s best organic floor sweep. For more information on how to effectively manage your spills, click here to contact Enretech, or view their range of spill products.