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10 ways to reduce chemical spills

Posted by Linda Chambers on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 @ 08:30 AM

  1. Store chemicals only in their UN approved original containers.

When you try to use other types of containers to store chemicals you may not use the proper materials that may cause chemicals to leach out or eat through causing a spill.

  1. Use pumps and funnels to prevent spills.

When you have to transfer chemicals from a storage container for use do not try to pick it up and free pour. The chances are much higher that you will over pour, splash or spill. If you must free pour use a funnel to guide the chemical or best to use a pump with a hose for the transfer. Just be sure these are clean or only used for that chemical.

  1. Contain spills and leaks when storing.

Where you store and will be transferring chemicals have in place spill mats, pallet trays or other spill containment measures. Then when any leak or small spill occurs it is already contained.

  1. Know the weight of a container before moving or lifting.

Too many spills are caused by misjudging the weight of a container and having it slip from hands or due to being dropped due to weighing too much for the handler trying to lift it. If needed get help or use equipment like fork lifts or pumps.

  1. Guide spills away from drains.

Most work floors slope toward drains for easier cleaning but with a spill you need to stop the chemicals before reaching a drain. Have drain covers and other measures like dikes to guide, confine or block a chemical spill from reaching or entering a drain. These can hang or be stored separately from spill kits for rapid access.

  1. Cover outside chemical storage and waste collection areas.

If you have to store chemicals outside like in drums or totes or on open trailers keeping them covered will prevent rain or snow from rinsing off any over spill from the outside of the containers on to the ground and possibly reaching a storm drain. Trash areas should also be covered or lids kept closed so discarded chemical containers, or chemical contaminated materials are not washed off.

  1. Do not leave containers open, tighten taps.

Number one way a spill happens is accidental tip over of a chemical container. When lids are not replaced or tightened any tip over can become a major spill. Also be sure taps on larger tanks, drums and totes are always closed properly, drips are spills and cause slips.

  1. Improper handling of work containers.

Similarly once a chemical has been transferred, mixed and is actually being used for work it is much easier for the chemical mixture to be spilled. Try to use containers that can not easily be turned over, that employees have been trained on how to reduce spill accidents while doing a particular job.

  1. Do not leave work use containers out.

Once a job is done if there are any chemical mixtures left in open containers return them to a properly marked and approved storage container or properly dispose of them. Leaving chemicals out and open can lead to accidental spills or worse chemical exposure to unauthorized persons.

10. Have chemical containers properly secured when transporting 

Drums or tanks need to be strapped down and smaller containers should be in special racks or inside a contained and best a lockable location. If an accident occurs a spill could be contained to the locker or prevented altogether.

Always keep spill kits and needed PPE in high-risk areas including vehicles.

Having proper spill kits for the chemical type and volume of chemicals that may spill as close to where the chemicals are stored or will be used is best for rapid response to any spill.

Tags: safety, spill kits, chemicals

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