Emergency spill response is an important part of a company’s safety, health, and environmental program. Well-prepared companies have a plan of action and keep the appropriate cleanup supplies on hand.
Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.
This article focuses on emergency response operations for releases or potential releases of hazardous substances. A simplified spill response plan might look like this:
Evacuate personnel from the immediate area of the spill
Identify the spilled material(s)
Notify the spill response team
Barricade the spill area and notify others in surrounding areas
Extinguish or disconnect all sources of ignition and contact the fire department if the chemical is flammable
Don the appropriate personal protective equipment
Contain the spill
Clean up the spill
Dispose of the spill in accordance with local, state and federal regulations
When putting together spill containment supplies, anticipate the types of spills and consider the types and styles of sorbents needed as well as the “tools” that should be readily available. Spill containment tools can include drain protectors, drain plugs, drum plugs, chemical neutralizers and shovels, brooms, mops, etc. If working with flammables, non-sparking tools are suggested.
Booms are cylindrical and vary in length and width. They are used to help control and contain spills. Some booms contain spills on water and can be connected together and deployed onto the water as a large spill barrier.
Socks or mini booms are cylindrical and vary in length and width. This form of the sorbent is typically used in facility spill response or maintenance applications. Socks can be used to contain spills or can be placed around machinery or other equipment to contain leaks.
Pillows are rectangular and filled with sorbent media. They are used to clean up medium-sized spills. They can be placed under drip pans to help eliminate overflow problems or used as a precaution for a possible spill when transferring liquids.
Pads and sorbent rolls are flat, sorbent sheets available in unperforated rolls, perforated rolls, or manufactured to a specific size. Pads can be used to line shelves, catch leaks under machinery, and clean up spills. Rolls can be cut to specific lengths for larger applications.