What's a spill kit for | Hasmate health and safety
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What’s a Spill Kit For?

What’s a Spill Kit For?

“What was that noise?” asked my wife, as we enjoyed the warm Gisborne sun and waited for the kettle to boil in our motor home.

The next moment, smoke was billowing out of our motor home. It was on fire!

A paper towel had been blown by the wind onto the gas ring, the paper towel had then erupted into flames which then caught the nylon curtains, and it was all ablaze.

Lucky for us, we had a serviced fire extinguisher onboard  – and our son, the fire chief at the local voluntary fire station, was on hand to take control and to put the fire out.

The damage = 1 TV, 1 bench top, 1 curtain, 1 power switch, a lost fire extinguisher, and paint damage.

My reason for sharing this scary event is this – is your business prepared for the same, or a similar event?

Necessary systems and processes

Recently a local company experienced a chemical spill that entered the stormwater system resulting in a heavy fine by the local regional council.

One of the key points that came out of investigation of this incident was:

  1. They had not identified the spillage of chemicals as an environmental risk, hence no risk assessment;
  2. There were no procedures in place to manage chemical spills;
  3. The material safety data sheet for the chemical was non-existent and other MSDs were out of date;
  4. There had been no training of staff in emergency management;
  5. The business did not have an emergency spill kit in place for such an accident;
  6. The company had not undertaken a post incident review of the event, and implemented any corrective and preventative actions to mitigate the risk of a similar event happening again; and
  7. This was a very expensive disaster waiting to happen.

Could this happen in your business?

Using the 7 points above as a check list, does your business have the necessary systems and processes in place to mitigate such an event if it were to happen?

One of the key mitigation tools to prevent this is to have a well-stocked spill kit in place and personnel trained to effectively use it.

What is a spill kit used for?

Are spill kits compulsory by law?

No, they aren’t, but are recognised as a reasonable practicable control method for a hazardous substance spill.

Emergency plans

It is an important part of any H&S management plan to identify and to carry out a risk assessment on the storage and use of hazardous substances in the business, and to develop an efficient emergency response plan. This plan should detail how a spillage (large or small) will be managed in the event of an accident – including leaks, spillages, explosion, or fire, involving any hazardous substances.

The spill kit and training and mitigation

A well-stocked spill kit, coupled with trained and competent staff, will enable you to efficiently manage, control, and clean the spill or leak in the safest way possible, to mitigate any pollution of any stormwater drains.

Dealing with these incidents quickly and effectively will protect your staff, premises, business, and the wider environment from harm, as well as reducing the risk of an expensive defense if the worst case happened .

Don’t procrastinate, complete the checklist, and if required, install the spill kit and train your staff with an appropriate site map and procedure.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.

Did you know that the online HASMATE program has a JSA module? It’s designed to speed up the planning process, and also allows copying of existing JSAs – for jobs that are similar. Click here to find out more…