Chemical Spill Response Procedure in the Workplace

Chemical Spill Response Procedure in the Workplace

Just about every workplace has a chemical spill risk; some are just higher than the others.

Job sites like auto repair facilities, oil refineries, and a range of manufacturers have an obvious need for a chemical spill response and cleanup procedure. But consider that even low-risk sites like offices need a chemical spill cleanup plan when, for example, coolant leaks out from air conditioning, or a delivery truck gushes gasoline, or oil in the parking lot.

Most Worksites Probably Need a Chemical Spill Emergency Response Plan

In our opinion, any workplace where a chemical spill is possible, needs an emergency response plan, particularly if a spilled liquid has flammable properties or poses a health risk from inhaling fumes or through skin contact.

Common Batteries Can Produce Chemical Spills

When people assure us that there their worksite is safe from chemical spills, we’re tempted to ask them how old their smartphone batteries are. Sometimes we do.

The lithium batteries in old smartphones and laptops weaken with age and leak out acids and caustic fluids; this can also happen if they become overheated. Newer lithium batteries emit a sweet smell — some people describe it like bubblegum — when they begin to overheat. If they continue to heat up, they can leak out gaseous or liquid hydrogen fluoride. If it contacts moisture like sweat, it becomes the corrosive hydrofluoric acid.

Regular alkaline batteries pose similar dangers and can leak electrolyte fluid of potassium hydroxide, which can irritate eyes and the skin.

Steps for a Chemical Spill Response Procedure

Usually, people who handle chemicals are responsible for chemical spill response and the cleanup. This is especially true at worksites where chemicals are frequently used. These sites are required to train personnel in chemical spill cleanup, but it’s always a good idea to have a backup in case the person involved in a spill becomes incapacitated. 

There are actually two major parts of any chemical spill response: an emergency process followed by an immediate cleanup.

Emergency actions must include:

  • Immediately alerting people in the area and the appropriate supervisor(s)
  • Evacuating the area as needed
  • Contacting 911 or other first responders if there is a fire or medical attention is needed right away
  • Assessing people who have been or may have been contaminated by the spill:
    • Removing contaminated clothing
    • Flushing skin with water for at least 15 minutes
    • Control any materials that might ignite and ventilate the area

The chemical spill response should begin once the area is cleared.

  • The person(s) responsible for chemical spill clean up should put on personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, safety glasses, respirators, etc.).
  • Contain the spill, especially if there are floor drains or other ways the spill can pose an environmental threat. 
  • Absorb the spill — if you use SpillFix, immediately pour the compound directly on the spill to absorb and sweep it into a disposal container.
  • After the spill has been contained and cleaned, report to the supervisor 

Steps for a Chemical Spill Response Procedure

Components for a Chemical Spill Kit

As we’ve noted, not all workplaces are prone to chemical spills. However, not all liquid spills contain chemicals. Plus, it may not always be apparent if a spill does contain dangerous chemicals. 

It makes sense to put together a chemical spill kit. At a minimum, this should include:

  • A neutralizing agent
  • An absorbent
  • Dustpan and broom
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Waste disposal forms and labels

SpillFix portable spill kits put it all together for you. They include the items above except for neutralizer, which must be specific for the chemical, plus extras like boom SOCs and heavy-duty trash bags. Choose from two types of kits to handle small and large spills. 

Why Choose SpillFix for Chemical Spill Cleanup?

There’s no shortage of spill cleanup products out there, even chemical spill kits. We offer SpillFix as a superior choice for these reasons:

  • SpillFix is a universal absorbent. When it’s being used to contain a spill, the proper neutralizer can be retrieved. 
  • SpillFix works very quickly (measured at 85% faster than competing products) and leaves no residue behind. It does not require post-cleanup steps.
  • The SpillFix compound is not powdery or dusty, so it won’t cause inhalation problems. In fact, SpillFix is 100% organic and safe for anyone to use.
  • You’ll need a lot less SpillFix than competing products. It’s extremely absorbent, so a small amount of it goes a long way. This means less weight to carry when responding to a chemical spill and ultimately, less cost to your business.

You can read more about industrial applications for SpillFix. Please feel free to contact our sales team for more information, including booking a demonstration.