Implementing the Correct Emergency Spill Response Procedure

At SpillShop, we pride ourselves on supplying safe and environmentally friendly products for handling liquid spills of any type, including water, oils, fuels, coolants and chemicals. If your company works with or stores hazardous chemicals and materials, then it is essential to have an emergency spill response procedure in place. A spill which is not quickly contained can have a devastating impact on both the surrounding environment and your facility. Ensuring that your business has an emergency response plan in place can offer peace of mind, as well as minimal impact to both your facility and the environment in the case of a spill.

To create an emergency response plan, it is important to understand what constitutes a pollution incident. A pollution incident, according to the EPA (NSW Environment Protection Authority), is defined as an

incident or set of circumstances during or as a consequence of which there is or is likely to be a leak, spill or other escape or deposit of a substance, as a result of which pollution has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur. It includes an incident or set of circumstances in which a substance has been placed or disposed of on premises, but it does not include an incident or set of circumstances involving only the emission of any noise.

In the case of a pollution incident, the following steps should be followed. This set of instructions were taken from a document on the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy website, and may need to be altered according to the layout and context of your facility:

  • Assess

The first step to be taken in response to a chemical spill is to assess the situation. The type, location and source of the spill need to be identified, as well as whether the spill can be isolated. Other things that need to be taken into consideration is the ability of personnel to control the spill, and the safety and PPE requirements.

  • Secure

The next step is to secure the spill. Personnel working near the spill need to be notified, and the area should be safely secured by either assigning someone to guard the area, erecting a barricade around the spill or putting up signage to warn others.

  • Control

The third step is to control the spill, meaning that its source needs to be isolated to prevent more leakage occurring. The spill itself should be surrounded using polypropylene absorbents, granules or bunding.

  • Absorb

Following this, the spill needs to be absorbed. Your facility should have spill kits available for this purpose with products which can be used to absorb the chemicals. SpillShop carries two types of spill kits: vehicle spill kits which fit inside most vehicle cabs, and wheelie bin spill kits, which can easily be transported to the location of the spill. For more information about spill kits and other spill response and containment products, click here.

  • Dispose

The next step in containing a spill is to dispose of the spill material. The method of disposal depends upon the nature and size of the spill, and further advice should be sought on the best disposal method for the materials stored at your facility.

  • Report

Finally, the spill needs to be reported to the appropriate authority. In the case of facilities based in New South Wales in Australia, for example, pollution incidents need to be immediately reported to the EPA, NSW Health, Fire and Rescue NSW, WorkCover NSW and the local council. As part of your emergency response plan, you should research which authorities your facility will need to contact in the case of a spill.

For more information on how to handle a pollution incident at your facility, see our blog post on incident management.

SpillShop carries an extensive range of spill response and containment equipment. Let us help you find the products to suit your facility and ensure that you are compliant with the current regulations.

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