We have all read or heard about them on the news: major oil releases, Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig, the Gulf War Oil Spill and so on.
The question is: What can you do to prevent hazardous releases to the environment? We have an easy answer for you: spill kits. While most of us do not have to deal with spills as large as those mentioned above, we still need to do our part.
Most facilities have a smaller potential for spills of 5 to 1,000 gallons, sometimes more, but for the purpose of this blog, we are going to focus on incidental spills.
An incidental spill:
- Does not pose a significant safety or health hazard to employees in the immediate vicinity or to the employee(s) cleaning it up
- Does not have the potential to become an emergency within a short time
- Is limited in quantity, exposure potential or toxicity
Regulations usually focus on preparing for a “worst-case scenario” spill. That’s definitely important, but total catastrophes aren’t what most people experience on a routine basis. Incidental spills are far more likely. What does an incidental spill look like? It could be an overfilled container, the overspray from a ruptured hose or pipe, a puddle at the bulk fluid transfer area, etc.
Having response kits in spill-prone areas can mean the difference between an incidental spill and an emergency. (Reminder: If a hazardous spill hits a drain that leads directly to a waterway, it’s probably going to be considered an emergency.)
Spill kits contain absorbent socks, mats and other items that help you quickly contain and control a spill. They can also contain patch and repair items, or other things that spill responders may need, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and response tools.
Keep in mind that spill kits may not be all that you need to be compliant. They’re usually exactly what you need for incidental spills, but you might need a more elaborate plan and products for emergencies and large releases.
You tell us: Are you ready for an incidental spill? Let us know in the comments section below.