To avoid damage, and help prevent injury to your staff, we’ve compiled a list of best practices for cleaning spills and the products you need to keep around to workplace to help you.
Step 1: The 5 Ps
Always follow the 5 Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Make sure everyone is trained in your safety procedures, and have regular reviews of protocol. But even with the best training and preparation, accidents do happen. So if you plan ahead of time and get prepared you can be on your way to getting cleanup done quickly and efficiently.
It’s important to note: team training on spill cleanup is extremely important – make sure everyone knows proper procedure, and where supplies are stored to ensure a quick and safe cleanup. A great starting point are the 3 C’s of spill management: control, contain, and cleanup.
Step 2: Evaluate the Spill
When the inevitable happens and a spill occurs – the first thing to do is mark out the area clearly so you can prevent anyone from getting into the middle of the spill. When a liquid spills in your workplace, no matter what the type of spill, it needs to be cleaned quickly in order to avoid damage. But the type of spill greatly impacts how you’ll clean it up.
First of all, evaluate what type of chemical has spilled and what size the spill is. There are different kinds of spills so make sure you get the right type of spill kit that will have in the sorbents, absorbent socks, and absorbent pads you may need. There are three main categories of spills:
- A universal spill which are the non-hazardous materials
- An oil only spill which are the grease and oil spills
- A hazmat spill which are acid and aggressive materials
Step 3: Begin the Cleanup
For each of the spill types mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure you have a clear procedure for each. Small universal or oil only spills may require nothing more than some paper towels, some absorbent socks, or a spill kit.
Hazmat spills, like methyl alcohol, require greater action: first, ring your company’s emergency bell to get everyone evacuated, then calling emergency services immediately, especially if it is corrosive or flammable. You may need to don protective gear especially if the spill is deep enough and large enough to get on your clothing.
Step 4: Post Cleanup
After a spill, be careful in case of any extra residue to avoid an employee slipping on the surfaces that have just been cleaned – this will prevent injury and avoid potential lawsuits. Tape off the area with reflective or barrier tape and put signage down if you think it needs some time to dry after being cleaned up. You may need to put down rubber mats if your floor just tends to be more slippery. In front of the places where chemical is kept and just putting prevention products in place is a good idea.
Hopefully you now have an overview of how to control and deal with spills. If one comes up at your facility, keep calm, but work quickly and efficiently to ensure the best possible outcome. Don’t forget to do some team training on this so everyone is aware of the best practices for cleaning up a spill!