Spill Prevention and Response

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Prevention

The primary elements of preventing and minimizing the consequences of emergency spill situations are prevention and preparation. Each person should ask themselves “what can I do to prevent and prepare for emergency spill incidents?”

A key component to spill prevention is planning ahead. Planning ahead for emergencies is good business practice. It is also required by several different safety and environmental regulations. Planning for emergencies assures that we will have the equipment and training required to handle emergencies that may arise.

All work areas should be evaluated to determine if they are free from hazards that could cause a spill emergency? Determine what could potentially occur and then discuss ways to prevent potential spill emergencies. Make sure that steps outlined to prevent spills have been taken.

Each work area should also be evaluated for preparation in the event of a spill. Ensure there are adequate amounts of absorbents and complete spill kits located in all areas within spill potential.  In addition, ensure that chemical and oil products are properly stored and that good housekeeping practices are maintained.

Some businesses have formal Emergency Response Teams, other do not. Formal teams are not required in order for a response to be effective. What is required is that everyone prepare and work together to resolve the situation. Ensure there is a proper chain-of-command and that all employees involved follow all emergency procedures as specified by the facility.

 

Response

The way in which a spill should be responded to depends on the type of the product that spilled.  Regardless of the type of material product spill, personnel must always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to entering the affected area.

 Oil, Non-Flammable Petroleum Products – Personnel must wear synthetic gloves and splash-proof goggles or face shield.  The procedures listed below should be followed:

  • Remove unnecessary persons from the affected area.
  • To the extent practical, eliminate or remove all ignition sources including sources of flames and sparks from the area.
  • Remove incompatible materials from affected area. Strong acids and oxidizers are examples of incompatible materials.  Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (“MSDS”) for more information.
  • Use rags, absorbent material, or absorbent tubes to dike around the spill.
  • Place hazardous material, contaminated absorbent, and other materials in a labeled container in accordance with the labeling requirements for hazardous waste.
  • Do not mix waste oil with solvents, water, or any other incompatible hazardous waste or material.
  • Provide the proper oral and written notifications to outside agencies, if required.

Flammable or Combustible Liquid – Combustible liquids are to be managed with the same degree of care as if it were a flammable liquid. Only small fires are to be suppressed by facility personnel.  If the fire persists, the building and, if necessary, the entire facility must be evacuated.  Personnel must wear synthetic gloves, a synthetic apron or Tyvek suit, splash-proof goggles or face shield, synthetic boots, and a vapor respirator (half or full face) with a new, unused NIOSH/MSHA-approved organic vapor cartridge.

 

The procedures listed below should be followed:

 

CAUTION:  Water must not be used to suppress fires involving flammable or combustible liquids.

  • Remove unnecessary persons from the affected area.
  • To the extent practical, eliminate or remove all ignition sources including sources of flames and sparks from the area.
  • Remove incompatible materials from affected area. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (“MSDS”) for more information.
  • Use rags, absorbent material, or absorbent tubes to dike around the spill.
  • Use explosion and spark proof equipment to clean up the spill (do not use a wet-dry vacuum). All tools must be made of a beryllium-copper alloy, bronze alloy, or similar non-sparking, non-ferrous materials.
  • Place hazardous material, contaminated absorbent, and other materials in a labeled container in accordance with the labeling requirements for hazardous waste.
  • Do not mix waste oil with solvents, water, or any other incompatible hazardous waste or material.
  • Provide the proper oral and written notifications to outside agencies, if required.

 

Dry Materials – Some dry materials do not present hazards and do not require PPE, such as plastic pellets. Other powdered chemicals, however, can present certain hazards. Personnel must wear synthetic gloves, a synthetic apron or Tyvek suit, splash-proof goggles or face shield, synthetic boots, and a MSHA-approved particle mask.  The procedures listed below should be followed:

 

  • Evacuate unnecessary persons from the affected area.
  • Cover material with plastic sheets to prevent the material from becoming airborne.
  • Use shovels to clean up the spill. If a wet-dry vacuum is used to collect the material, make certain the wet-dry vacuum canister and hoses are clean and dry before using.
  • Place hazardous material, contaminated absorbent, and other materials in a labeled container in accordance with the labeling requirements for hazardous waste.
  • Provide the proper oral and written notifications to outside agencies, if required.
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