Posted by Administration on 19 June 2013

Accidental spills are often a common occurrence within an industrial workplace. If spills and leaks are not controlled, they can pose a serious threat to the environment and safety of personnel. Spills can often lead to hazardous situations and result in serious stormwater pollution.

The following steps should be followed to prevent stormwater pollution and to protect our local waterways in the event of a spill at your premises.

What should you do if there is a spill?

For large scale hazardous spills contact the NSW Fire Brigade (000) immediately for help with cleanup operations.

For cleanup of small scale spills, consult the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the chemicals involved in the spill. These data sheets provide relevant information for specific liquid types, and are available from chemical manufacturers and suppliers. The MSDS gives advice on handling, storage and cleanup procedures for liquid chemicals. Your workplace should keep copies of the MSDS for each product that is used.

The following general procedures are recommended in the event of small emergency spills:

  • Stop the spill : Stop the source of the spill immediately, if it is safe to do so, in a way that is appropriate to the chemicals involved. This will reduce the level of possible contamination to the environment.
  • Contain the spill : Control the flow of the spill and contain the spill appropriate to the type of liquid involved. (Refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet.) Prevent the spill from entering any stormwater drains, by isolating drain inlets.
  • Clean up the spill : Clean up the spill by referring to the Material Safety Data Sheets for the type of chemical involved. Cleaning up a spill promptly will help to protect the local environment.

It is important to clean up all spills quickly - even small ones such as oil spills, as these can easily flow into stormwater drains or be washed there by rain.

Should you have a 'Spill Cleanup Plan'?

It is advisable that your workplace develops a spill cleanup plan so that staff can be trained about cleanup procedures. Such a plan could be a simple one that indicates what staff members should do in the event of a spill.

In order for cleanup efforts to proceed successfully it is a good idea to store cleanup material (for example brooms, mops and absorbent material) in an accessible location within the workplace. The whereabouts of these items should also be included in your spill cleanup plan.

What is 'dry cleaning'?

Dry cleaning is a term used to describe any process of cleaning up spills without the use of water. It involves using absorbent materials such as rags, sawdust or even kitty litter to mop up liquid spills. There are many commercial products on the market that promote this absorbent cleaning method.

Dry cleaning methods not only reduce the potential for contaminated material to be hosed into the stormwater system, but also reduce the use of our valuable and scarce water resource.

Source:  NSW EPA

Tags:Spill Kit TrainingArgyle NewsOil SpillsIndustry News

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