Every spillage must be cleaned up, whether it is a large-scale spillage like Deepwater Horizon or small drips from a leaky pump seal.
However, did you know that using the wrong absorbent materials can make things worse? Some spills can be flammable, while others are not. Some spills can be corrosive, while others aren’t that important. Proper spill response is essential for maintaining a safe work environment.
Before cleaning up fast-spreading spillages, be sure to contain them. Equipment drips usually don’t require containment. You can simply absorb the drips as they come. Different absorbent types can be used for different situations. It is possible to have disastrous results if you use an incompatible absorbent to clean up a spill.
What is the best way to clean up chemical spillages in the workplace? For common spillage scenarios, here are four spill cleanup tips:
Identify Leaks, Drips, and Drops from Machinery
There are three major leak types in the machinery:
- A Class 1 leak is a leak that causes water to pool around the leak.
- Class 2 leaks are those where the water forms a drop but does not fall.
- When drops fall to the ground, it is a Class 3 leak.
Many times, falling leaks start as a Class 1 leak. It slowly becomes worse until it becomes a Class 3 leak. This would require immediate attention. Before the equipment is taken out of service, it takes time to prepare for the repairs. To capture oil leaking and protect the environment, you can use absorbent mats and pads. Allow them to catch the leaking product. Once they are saturated, change them.
Choose the Right Spill-Cleaning Substance
You must act quickly if there is a spillage. You shouldn’t just grab the first absorbent that you see. Each chemical spillage is different, and not every absorbent material is the right one. To clean up bases, acids, oxidizers, or other unknown substances, you should not use absorbents with cellulose. The properties of the chemicals that it absorbs are not affected by an absorbent. The cellulose may react with corrosive chemicals and cause a fire.
Training employees on chemical spillage cleanup procedures is a must. Be aware of the types of absorbent materials required for different kinds of spillages. If in doubt, consult the Safety Data Sheets of the absorbent and chemical spilled. Keep them close to potential sources of spillage.
Start from the Ground
Common spillage cleanup involves removing oil and chemicals from the ground. To soak up all spilled products, use absorbent materials. You should also remove any topsoil if the chemical spillage penetrates the ground. This will eliminate contamination. To draw liquid from the ground, use mats, pads, or loose absorbents. For covering up the entire spillage area, loose absorbents can be especially useful. They can be spread to difficult-to-reach areas.
Avoid the Spill From Spreading
Fluid spillages spread quickly. To stop that, you can use booms or socks to protect the container. The absorbents, which are sausage-shaped, form a barrier around the spill to give the spill crew enough time to stop it and clean up the area.
How to Deal With Flocculant Spills
While flocculants are highly effective in water and waste treatment, they have a significant disadvantage: their slippery nature. A spillage can cause flocculant residue to stick to floors, shoes, and other surfaces. The flocculant will dissolve in water if it comes into contact with any amount of water. This can lead to slips and falls. Flocculants can be highly effective when they have been highly diluted. This, however, does not discount the fact that the risk of spillage is high as even the smallest residue could cause the floor to become slippery. It is impossible to avoid water spills in a facility, but it is possible to clean up spilled flocculants safely to avoid any accidents.