Spill Kits and Legislation: What Are You Responsible For?
The merits of keeping up to date with your spill kits goes well beyond a personal sense of pride for keeping your local environment clean and protected. You are helping to ease the burden borne by the environment, leaving it as pristine – or more so – than you found it. As we learn more and more about the long-term impact of chemical pollution, we are realising that these habits have real-world implications for the well-being of ourselves, and our children in future years.
But the proper use of spill kits, from Melbourne, through Sydney to Brisbane, is not just about protection of the natural world – it is also about protecting yourself and your employees. A clean workplace is a safe workplace, and ensuring that your staff go home safe each day is clearly a huge priority for all business owners. Doing things the right way also keeps you protected from potential legal measures, in case of an accident.
Australian workplaces operate under a tight legal framework, to ensure that we keep ourselves and our staff safe, and understanding it is the first step to ensuring that we are providing such a workplace. What is this framework?
Understanding the Work Health and Safety Act
As part of their responsibility to their employees, workplaces are bound by due diligence to provide a safe work environment. These obligations are laid out the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011, and by these regulations, they are legally bound to take all reasonable steps to prevent, and to prepare for, spills of various substances. This includes adequate training and the right equipment.
If, as the result of a spill, an employee or the local environment is injured in some way, the judge will examine whether all steps were taken to prevent damage from occurring. This is applied in any industry where fuel or hydrocarbon storage occurs.
This includes, but is not limited to, the following workplaces:
- Workshops and automotive repair and maintenance shops
- Transport and shipping depots and centres
- The oil, gas, and mining sectors
- The defence sector
- City councils and public utilities
In order to avoid a fine, there are a number of responsibilities that the business must show to have adhered to. These include an updated knowledge of workplace oil spills, an understanding of relevant workplace operations, the supply of appropriate resources to respond to spills, and the implementation of response procedures.
Spill Kits in the workplace
Providing your workplace with the proper equipment to clean up a spill is the first step towards ensuring best practice procedures are being followed. But there is more to this than simply having one on hand.
The kit itself must be placed properly, in a location that makes it easily accessible to employees, and in a spot that makes it quickly available to the most common locations for spills to occur. It must be kept up to date, easily accessible, and deployable by any member of the team.
Each Ecospill spill kit is colour-coded to match the substance it is meant for. It includes the proper PPE (personal protective equipment), and the right instructions for its deployment. However, speed is of the essence, and prior training here is nevertheless important.
Training and Preparation
Central to Ecospill’s service offerings are our spill kit training courses. These courses ensure your staff that they are well-versed in the application of your spill kit – whether you are cleaning up hydrocarbons, mercury, organic liquids, fuels, or oil.
They ensure that the proper methods are being followed – including underlining the importance of donning the included PPE gear before cleaning up the spill. Speed must be combined with safety while cleaning up such spills, and doing so the proper way will ensure that your staff are protected.
What is included your Ecospill Spill Kit?
The specific ingredients in each of our kits are crafted towards their target substance, but you can typically find:
-Waste disposal bags for disposing of oil and cleanup equipment
-PPE gear for the safety of the cleaner
-Absorbents for soaking up the spilled liquid
-Containment booms for preventing the spread of the liquid
-In some industry-specific kits, you will find dispersants
As an extension of our services, Ecospill provides a site surveying service for all clients, current and prospective, to determine their exposure to spill-related problems.
Our experience within this industry has provided us with the experience to see what specific issues are presented in your workplace. We can identify problem areas, and recommend the training, relevant spill kits, and spill remediation methods, that will keep your workplace clean and safe.
By identifying the specific requirements of your workplace, we can provide a tailored solution that suits your needs.
Keeping Your Workplace Safe
A spill kit, even with a properly trained staff, is not an automatic saviour. It is considerably easier to ensure that spills do not easily occur at your place of work than it is to deploy your spill kit at every opportunity. By implementing strong protocols, especially for activities such as fuelling or greasing, you stand a good chance of never being obliged to use your spill kit.
However, we are only human. Should your workplace experience a spill, ensuring that you are well-prepared to cope with it is vital to keep yourself, your staff, and your workplace safe, and protected from a grievous fine. It can also ensure that you are not creating lasting damage to the environment. Contact Ecospill, and let us help you stay protected. We provide spill kits for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and everywhere in between.