Hazardous chemical spills in the workplace – such as hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide – are one of the most common problems in the chemical industry and manufacturing industry. In this context, I only will discuss incidental chemical spills that do not require emergency response.
Let’s see the definition first.
According to OSHA, a chemical incidental spill is a release of a hazardous substance that does not pose a significant safety or health hazard to employees in the immediate vicinity or to the worker cleaning it up, nor does it have the potential to become an emergency.
An incidental spill does not require an emergency response and therefore does not require hazmat trained cleanup personnel. The spill can be cleaned up by employees working in the area where the spill happened or by maintenance members.
To overcome chemical spills quickly and appropriately, you need to equip yourself with various tools, before they cause unexpected events to happen.
Those tools are mandatory tools for you to clean up chemical spills once they occur.
But, before I show those tools, let see chemical spills examples to understand among different spill conditions.
Chemical Spills Examples
A chemical spill can occur with the following 3 conditions:
- a chemical spill that involves a known hazardous chemical
- a chemical spill that involves a known hazardous chemical mixture
- a chemical spill that involves an unknown substance
You have to provide a specific clean-up procedure for each spill condition since the risk is also specific. And you have to make a procedure for handling the hazardous waste after cleaning up the chemical spills.
Tools for Handling Chemical Spills in the Workplace
To clean up an incidental chemical spill – in whatever condition – you must equip yourself with the right tools. Without the right tools, you will face many difficulties.
Here are the tools for handling chemical spills in the workplace:
- Chemical resistant glove: this is the first mandatory tool you have to provide. It protects your hand from hazardous chemical exposure like strong acid or base. An example of a chemical-resistant glove is from Double one – heavy-duty industrial gloves.
- Safety goggles: every time handling a chemical spill, wear a safety goggle to protect your eyes from chemical splash. Safety goggles with anti-fog and adjustable head belts like safety goggles from SuperMore will better.
- Chemical suits: always wear a chemical suit with a chemical resistant feature that covers all of your body. Click here to see a chemical suit product.
- Chemical resistant boots: protect your feet by wearing chemical-resistant boots. UltraSource Polyurethane Chemical Resistant Boot is an ideal boot for this purpose.
- Respirators: do not forget to prepare a respirator to prevent inhalation hazards.
- Absorbent: once a chemical spill occurs, absorbent comes as the first tool you will need. It will absorb liquid spill quickly to avoid creating a slippery surface surrounding it. An ideal absorbent should be made from safe material, lightweight has a high absorbency and can retain the liquid inside. Look at this absorbent that can absorb oil, coolants, solvents, and water.
- Spray bottles: to spray cleaning liquid you will need a spray bottle.
- Salvage drum: you will need a salvage drum for collecting used absorbents before being disposed of. Choose a salvage drum that is reusable.
- Waste chemical labels: when you have finished cleaning chemical spills, do not forget to put a hazardous waste label on the salvage drum for easy identification for further treatment.
- Caution wet floor sign: install caution wet floor signs to let others know about the incidental spills.
But remember that chemical spill prevention is the best way. Suppose you can use a chemical spill containment pallet to store chemical in the warehouse.
And do not forget to follow the hazard control hierarchy in dealing with chemical spill prevention.
You need to equip yourself with the right tools for handling chemical spills in the workplace. Without those tools, you will not be able to clean up the spills.
Now, you need to check which tools do you have to procure?