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Oil Spills in the Workplace
Accidents can happen in the workplace like an oil spill, which can pose health risks to those around with detrimental effects on the environment. If the workplace deals with chemicals and oils, it is best to have safety precautions and emergency kits around.
If an oil spill happens, an oil spill kit provides a solution to the problem. It is an all-in-one emergency kit with everything you need for a quick cleanup of the oil mess.
Having the kit is just one part of the solution. The other half is the right knowledge to use the oil spill kits for a quick and effective cleanup.
With the spill kit and skills combined, anyone can clean up the oil spills at the soonest time for minimal damage.
1. Choose the Right Spill Kit.
There are various types of spill kits for different spill problems. Among the common types are the marine and the hydrocarbon kits for fuel and oil spills.
Likewise, there are Hazchem kits and general-purpose spill kits for non-aggressive chemical spills. For oil and fuel leaks, the right side of the kit matters a lot as it comes in various sizes.
You should first find out the quantity that you need to contain the oil spill. The smallest size of the oil spill kit is 20 liters.
On the other hand, the largest kits have a capacity of about 400 liters. For larger than 400 liters, you may need an oil spill trailer to contain the problem. The oil spill kits should have basic items like the following:
- absorbent powder.
- Waste disposal bags.
- Absorbent pads and pillows.
- Floor-sweeping compound.
- Plug and dike.
- Containment booms.
2. Conduct Training and Drills
Spill kits are only good if the spill responders use them properly since there are safety risks for lack of knowledge on the kit's use. All workers with exposure to hazards should participate in the drills to ensure readiness to respond to spill problems in the workplace.
Regular drills let you find weaknesses and spot areas for improvement. Everyone should know the placements and the oil spill kits' contents, including the individual items' uses and functions.
Having sufficient knowledge of how to use PPEs will also ensure the workers' safety in responding to emergencies. Everyone needs to know the contingency plans when responding to oil spills.
3. Have a Material Safety Data Sheet Ready
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends using the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). This is part of the hazard communication standard.
The safety data sheet is a 12-point checklist that communicates the necessary information to the hazard. It aids the end-users in handling the situation to become familiar with the existing emergency and how the spill kit's contents can help contain the problem.
Likewise, updating the MSDS after the cleanup is mandatory for proper restocking of the kit. This is to ensure the kit is ready for the next emergency.
4. Use the Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
Oil spill workers should have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling oil and fuel spills. This is recommended by OSHA.
PPEs may vary depending on the company's provisions and the type of emergency. But they should have the essential gears like boots, goggles, coveralls, oil-resistant gloves, a respirator, and safety glasses.
All responders to the emergency should know when the PPE is necessary, how to put on and take off the PPEs, its limitations, and proper care and maintenance. It is also vital to match the available PPEs with the current emergency.
You may be dealing with more hazardous chemicals other than oil. But your PPEs does not have sufficient protection for the hazard.
Thus, you need to know the limitations of the protective equipment you are using. This is best for your safety.
5. Ensure Proper Storage and Maintenance of the Oil Spill Kits
The ability to respond quickly to an emergency spill is a critical part of oil spill management. You can prevent a small spill case from worsening to a large-scale oil spill problem by responding quickly to the emergency as it happens.
These kits should come in handy and accessible for everyone to grab during an accident in the workplace. A proper assessment will identify the critical areas for the placements of oil spill kits.
Likewise, regular maintenance of the kits is a must in compliance with the Work Health Safety Regulation 2011. There are penalties and fines for non-compliance.
Round Up of Oil Spill Advice
Oil spill kits are safety nets in workplaces with oil and chemical hazards. It is vital to have the right number of kits for the amount of oil the workplace is handling.
Proper training is also essential to ensure the best use of these kits. While it is good to have a couple of oil spill kits around, prevention remains the best way to keep the workplace safe for everyone.
© 2020 Emmanuel Floriann