Spill kits are required kits installed to deal with hazardous spills – typically oil, dangerous chemicals, biological waste, and similar liquids that need to immediately be cleaned up for health and safety reasons.
While these kits are required, there are no specific regulations on what must be inside, which means companies dealing with hazardous materials have important decisions to make on supplying spill kits. To help out, let’s take a look at common industry-wide spill kit best practices.
Different Kits for Different Situations
Most sites deal with more than one kind of spillable hazardous material: That means that the exact same kit (for example, if the company bulked ordered the kits from a supply store) won’t be able to deal with every situation.
The solution to this complication is to create different kits for different scenarios – one for oil and one for a corrosive solvent, for example – and place them in the site near where these scenarios might occur. Customizing kits this way helps ensure that the appropriate cleanup methods (which, again, are required by law) are always present.
Proper Drainage Techniques
It’s particularly important to think about drainage when hazardous materials are involved. In most cases, you do not want spillable materials to go down drains intended for gray water or runoff. For this reason, good spill kits usually include mini booms for blocking the spill before it can escape and soak into drains or soil. These small booms can take up a lot of space, so the size of the kit is important.
Nitrile is a material that’s similar to latex, but comes with fewer allergy concerns and is well suited to resist hazardous materials. As a result, nitrile gloves are a common part of spill kits: They are useful in almost every situation, and make for an excellent “first step” when dealing with hazardous materials. Keep a plentiful supply in all of your kits.
You want your spill kit supplies to last as long as possible. That means finding the proper storage for the kits at every site. As a general rule, don’t store spill kits outdoors whenever possible – the elements will quickly degrade the kit. Instead, find an inside or protected area to place the kit. Temperature is also an important consideration. Very high or low temperatures will damage even well-sealed kits, so finding a moderate zone is important.
Ideally, a spill kit will never be re-used. However, even in the best locations, a kit will eventually age and need to be replaced. That means that organizations must have a schedule to inspect kits, look for any signs of wear, consult the spill kit checklist to look for any missing items, and generally perform all the maintenance that needs to be done. These inspections don’t need to happen often, but should be set up to occur around every three months.