Planning For The Worst-Case Scenario To Boost Preparedness for Spills
When we think of worst-case scenarios we may think of Deepwater Horizon; the catastrophic oil spill that occurred on April 10th 2010, in the Gulf of New Mexico. Eleven people were killed in the blast and an estimated 4,900,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of New Mexico over a period of six months while they were trying to find a solution. The fallout was so great because no one had planned for the worst-case scenario. Beyond oil spills, many of us work with hazardous chemicals on a daily basis and may not even realize it. Whether it be on a golf course, in a commercial kitchen, or a school there may be unknown harmful chemical products that if spilled could risk the injury of staff or the environment. To be effective at lowering the risks of a spill, always consider the worst-case scenario. Have the proper materials on hand, such as a spill kit, and a plan in place to optimize your spill preparedness.
How to Use a Spill Kit in an Emergency?
Spill kits contain absorbent materials, clean up tools, hazardous waste storage containers and personal protective wear for the person using them.
In the event of an emergency follow these steps:
- Notify Personnel – If you are not trained in emergency spill response, find the person who is. Contact the fire department and/or ambulance service if need be. Hazardous materials require proper training to clean safely, so it’s important that the person who makes or discovers the spill contacts the correctly trained personnel.
- Protect Yourself – When trying to stop the source of the spill, make sure you don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Especially in the case of chemical spills, highly caustic substances can cause a chemical burn if not careful. Don appropriate protective gear such as boots, a mask, goggles and gloves before attending to the spill.
- Control and Contain – Stop the spill at its source if possible. Identification and analysis of the contaminant is key to assessing how to control it. Determine what was spilled, and how much. Make a barrier around the spill to stop further contamination. Keep people at a distance and ventilate the space if necessary. Use your absorbent materials to soak up the remainder of the spill.
- Dispose and Declare – All waste and materials used in the clean up should be placed in hazardous waste bags or containers. Make sure to label the type of contamination and date. Declare spill to EPA if necessary.
- Review and Restock – Review how employees followed the emergency procedures to see how improvements could be made. Restock your spill kit for any future emergency use.
Review managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace for more information.
How Can A Spill Kit Help In Worst Case Scenario?
During an emergency, people tend to panic and make rash decisions. A spill kit provides a tangible solution in an emergency situation. Proper training in using your spill kit is as crucial as the kit itself. Your employees should be familiar with its contents, and ready to put them into action. Through proper training, you can prevent panic which may lead to further injury or damage. A spill kit provides you and your employees a way to keep safe while minimizing the damage done to the environment. A well-stocked spill kit means less mess and faster cleanup.
What’s in a Spill Kit to Boost Preparedness for Spills?
Boost spill preparedness by choosing the spill kit right for your home or business. Spill preparedness means taking inventories on hazardous materials you have onsite, evaluating the potential for spills and preparing for ways to take the best possible response. You’ll want to be ready with the proper kit on hand, either for oil, fuel, chemical or other liquid spills. In-house spills can also be dangerous to humans and the environment. Contained in a spill kit are all of the essential ingredients to protect yourself, contain, control and dispose of spilled hazardous materials.
One must always measure the risk when using, transporting or handling hazardous or sensitive products such as heavy cleaners which can be highly caustic, oil which can quickly pollute nearby water supplies. The best way to protect yourself from spills is through precautionary measures. If your place of work involves using hazardous materials, make sure that anyone handling them receives the proper training necessary to handle those substances. These employees should be the ones trained in using the spill kit as they would often be the first on site after a spill.
Lessons Learned, Moving Forward.
The explosion of the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon has taught the world a valuable lesson. This extreme example has shown us that preparing for a worst-case scenario will help minimize catastrophes and protect both humans and the environment. In this modern world, we all handle toxic, caustic and other dangerous substances in our homes and jobs.
To get started in spill preparedness, check out our page on how to choose a spill kit, or contact us about our spill training courses. Ecospill is proudly Australian owned and provide expert solutions and products to serve the entire country.