8 Common Types of Spill Kits and Which One is Right for You?
Any organisation which handles hazardous chemicals must take every precaution to protect against spills or leaks. This is not only important to protect the environment and prevent contamination by toxic substances, but it is also a matter of legal compliance.
Specific types of spill kits are necessary for particular situations. Understanding what you must do to ensure compliance and respond safely and effectively to chemical spills is critical. Below, we look at the eight most common types of industrial spill kits.
Types of Spill Kits
There are nine classes of dangerous goods in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code. The ninth is a category covering miscellaneous hazardous substances, and as such, does not have specific handling instructions that could be used to create a spill kit specifically for this category.
• Chemical Spill Kits
Section 357 of the Model WHS Regulations mandates that organisations proactively manage the risks associated with accidental leaks or spills of hazardous chemicals in their custody. These types of spill kits are intended to help contain spills from corrosive substances or caustic substances, pesticides, and even chemicals found in paints, glues, disinfectants, and other everyday products.
• Fuel and Oil Spill Kits
These industrial spill kits are designed to address any accidental release of hydrocarbon-based substances like petroleum oil and fuel. These kits can safely and effectively contain and absorb these kinds of leaks, and as they do not absorb water or water-based chemicals, they are excellent for use on most waterways.
• Lab and Medical Spill Kits
These types of spill kits are used in hospitals, laboratories, and other facilities that deal with the testing or analysis of medical samples. Spill kits of this type are used to absorb and contain bodily fluids as well as certain chemicals used in a laboratory or similar setting.
• Marine Spill Kits
While the fuel and oil spill kits above can be used on waterways to absorb fuel and oil spills, specifically designed marine spill kits are more suited for use in uncontained coastal or offshore waters. These industrial spill kits can contain and absorb fuel and other petroleum oils, cooking oils, or any other chemical substance accidentally released into the environment from a ship or offshore industrial facility.
• General-Purpose Spill Kits
These types of spill kits are intended for spills or leaks of chemicals that are not otherwise handled by other industrial spill kits. They include materials to contain and absorb general chemical spills, as well as typically having gloves and disposal bags.
• Universal Spill Kits
While general-purpose spill kits can be used for common industrial chemicals, universal spill kits are intended to be used to contain a wide variety of chemical spills or leaks. These can typically include petrochemical or other contaminants too hazardous to be handled by a general-purpose kit.
• HazMat Spill Kits
These types of spill kits are designed specifically for especially volatile and dangerous chemicals. Because of the nature of the materials that these kits are meant for, some customisation may be necessary prior to use in an emergency response situation. These kits also do not contain protective clothing and other accessories due to the wide variety of industrial chemicals.
• Specialty Spill Response Kits
These industrial spill kits are for specialised use or chemicals or goods not covered by the types of spill kits already mentioned. They are used to contain specific hazards such as battery acid, benzene, mercury, and biohazards.
How to Choose the Right Spill Kit?
Preparing for the accidental release of hazardous or polluting chemicals is not only the responsible thing for an organisation to do, it is, in many cases, a legal obligation. A proactive plan of action requires having all necessary supplies on hand to deal with a chemical leak. Here’s how to better determine the types of spill kits that may best meet your needs.
Step 1: Know Your Obligations
Australia’s Model Work Health and Safety Regulations have a separate section dealing with spill containment systems. Section 357 states that all organisations that use, transport, store, or otherwise handle dangerous goods or hazardous substances must have a spill containment system in place.
Step 2: Consider the Chemical Classification
Are you dealing primarily with petrochemicals such as fuel oil, industrial solvents, or biohazardous materials? The type of substance you’re handling can help determine the types of spill kits your organisation may need.
Step 3: What Quantities Are You Carrying?
Industrial spill kits are typically rated or classified to handle a certain amount of chemical substance. Ensure that you have a sufficient number of spill kits or a spill kit explicitly designed with the quantities of chemicals you are handling.
Step 4: Selecting the Spill Kit
After determining the type of chemical and other particulars, select the spill kit or kits that best meet your needs—and keep in mind compliance issues.
Step 5: Write Procedures and Train Staff
Clear and complete procedures should be drawn up to instruct staff on how to deploy a spill kit to contain a chemical spill or leak. All staff responsible for handling dangerous goods should then be thoroughly trained in selecting and using the appropriate spill kit.
Step 6: Monitor and Maintain Your Spill Kit
Some spill kits may have components that may need to be periodically replaced. Check if your organisation uses a kit with elements that have expiration dates, and ensure a system is in place to check on the condition of all spill kits.
Nearly every industrial facility or transport operation has an accidental release of a chemical substance at some point. Do you know what types of spill kits your organisation should have on hand? To learn more, contact us today.