By Grainger Editorial Staff 8/21/19
Chemicals are used in nearly every workplace, from industrial facilities to hospitals - and even in office environments. Whether chemicals are part of a production process, used to maintain equipment or used for cleaning, chemicals can and do pose a hazard to workers, facilities and the environment. If something goes wrong and a chemical is spilled, action must be taken to minimize the potential for injury and damage. Preparing for different types of spills means a safer workplace for your team and less overall impact to your facility and the environment. By using and storing chemicals properly and stocking spill kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) and chemical neutralizers, your facility can be better prepared.
Before a spill, having the right products on hand in the right areas can make responses faster and more effective. Ensure you have adequate equipment to respond to spills across your facility:
Spill Kits: Spill kits that are appropriate for the chemicals on hand, including cleaners, degreasers and potential biohazards are a must. Most spill kits include product to soak up a spill, safe handling PPE and instructions for safe disposal. A spill kit is only useful if it is provided near where exposure may occur or chemical storage areas. Employees in these areas must also be trained to use the kits. Multiple kits may be needed for the different chemicals you have onsite to cover your entire facility.
Safe Storage Equipment: Chemicals require proper storage to reduce the risk to employees. Chemical cabinets are used to protect chemical containers and are available for a variety of chemicals. Additionally, by storing compatible chemicals in specific cabinets, response teams can quickly identify which chemicals are present in the event of a spill.
During a spill, the focus is on keeping employees safe and containing the spill. Adequate PPE and cleanup materials can make the difference between a minor and major incident:
Chemical Safety PPE: Depending on the chemicals you store, specific PPE may be required to lessen the potential for severe injury. Even common chemicals like bleach and ammonia can pose extreme risk to your employees. Proper gloves, masks and disposal equipment should be in reach near chemical storage and common areas.
Chemical Neutralizers: Chemical neutralizers convert acidic or basic solutions to a neutral state - a pH of 7 on the pH scale. Your facility may need to keep both acidic and basic neutralizers on hand to address any potential spills.
Check out these solutions to help minimize the impact of hazardous material spills.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.