Hazchem spill kits are one of those things that every business that deals in hazardous chemicals should have, and which (fingers crossed) will never be used!
Good safety policies, storage procedures and of course, compliant hazchem signs and emergency information panels can prevent accidents.
Of course, we all know what they say about the best-laid plans!
Even if you do everything right and follow all the regulations and codes, there’s no guarantee that a hazchem spill won’t occur.
As such, it’s crucial that your business has a hazchem spill kit on-hand, and that staff members are adequately trained on its contents and how to use it.
That’s why we’re taking a break from hazchem signs and EIPs, and instead focusing on giving you a quick run-down on hazchem spill kits!
What’s actually in a hazchem spill kit?
We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to know what is actually inside of a spillage kit. If you’re going to be using it, you should know what’s in it!
Depending on where you source your spillage kit from, it will contain a few different things. Generally-speaking, most hazchem spill kits will contain the following:
- Perimeter containment (safety tape)
- Sand or hazchem absorbent mats
- Protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc)
There are only a couple of ways to dispose of a hazchem spill. With these three items, you’ve covered all your bases.
As such, you should definitely double-check your spillage kit to confirm it contains some version of the four above items!
Every spill kit contains something to block off the area affected by spillage. Usually, this takes the form of:
- Barrier tape
- Witch’s hats
- Spill warning signs
Certain chemicals are corrosive, and can cause burns or other injury when they come into direct contact with skin.
To protect against these, protective gear is required.
The exact nature of the PPE contained will depend on the hazardous chemicals your business works with. Be sure your’s contains protective gear that’s suited for the chemicals your business works with.
Sand and absorbent pads
Not all chemicals can be safely washed down the drain – to dispose of these chemicals, special steps need to be taken.
Certain chemicals need to be cleaned up by absorbing them, and then disposing of them in a dedicated hazchem bin.
In most cases, sand is used. You will have to pour sand over the spill, then gather up the mixture and dispose of it.
Alternatively, some spillage kits may eschew sand in favour of absorbent pads and mats that do the same thing – only, you won’t have to worry about loose sand grains being overlooked!
What to do when a spill occurs
The first thing you need to do before you even open the spill kit is to assess the situation.
To do that, ask yourself the following questions:
- How dangerous is the spill?
- Where is the spill?
- What risk does it pose to the public?
- What specific chemical has been spilled?
Each hazardous chemical should come with a safety data sheet that outlines all the relevant info. It will explain to you the hazards, as well as proper disposal techniques.
If there is a high risk, you’ll have to cordon the area using the containment tools in your spill kit. If the chemical gives off fumes, you may need to crank open a window or open a door and ventilate the facility.
Once that’s out of the way, the next thing you need to do is to contain the spill – something you will be able to do with help from the spill kit.
And don’t forget to don the correct PPE!
While you’re busy cleaning, you’ll also want to make sure you report the spillage to management, and if necessary, emergency services.
The last and final step, which we see people overlooking far too often, is restocking the spill kit!
Your spill kit needs to be fully stocked and ready for use at all times – you don’t know when another spill might happen.
How hazchem signs and emergency information panels come into the picture
Naturally, hazchem signs and emergency information panels can be used to help avoid a spill – they can identify the chemical, the hazard it poses and proper handling procedures.
However, that isn’t the only way hazchem signs and EIPs can help!
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote an article explaining the codes that are found on most hazchem signs.
If you missed it, here’s a quick recap…
- First digit: proper firefighting procedure
- Second digit: level of violence, PPE and disposal method
- Third digit: whether or not evacuation is required
Using this standardised system, your workers will be able to immediately suss out the proper course of action, without having to refer to the safety datasheet (assuming that it’s included in your mandatory safety training).
This can save valuable minutes!
More than just hazchem signs and emergency information panels…
The team at Signsmart is dedicated to keeping your workplace as safe as possible.
In addition to supplying hazchem signs and emergency information panels, our team can also help prepare your workplace for its first shipment of chemicals.
Our signage experts are familiar with the legal requirements that come with hazchem storage.
We’re happy to talk to you about exactly what it is that your business does – together, we can determine what types of safety signs you need, as well as your other legal requirements such as hazchem spill response.
Keep your workplace safe – give our experts a call on (03) 9687 3050, or click here to explore our online store.