Do you know how to handle a chemical spill? It doesn’t happen very often but if and when it does it can quickly ruin more than just your day. News agencies just love accidents like these and wouldn’t it be grand to see your companies logo splashed all over the 6 o’clock news with the back drop of some dead fish floating in a near by pond or the Hazmat crews in their astronaut suits roping off an area near the local school. Before you read any further take the pre test on spill control and see how you do.
The 3 c’s might need to be renamed to 4 c’s;
This is basically doing what needs to be done to stop the flow. It could be as simple as turning the valve on the rig or hose or even simpler, picking up the over turned container. For large spills or cracked and unstoppable type flow do what you can to mitigate the leak and immediately rope off the area to keep others from becoming contaminated.
Is doing what you can to keep the flow in one manageable area. This is usually done by using a ‘dike’ type method. Dirt, kitty litter, products like E-Z sorb or Absorb it or absorbent snakes work very well. These materials should be put around the area of the spill so as to make a moat of sorts where the spill will be contained. A small container of E-Z sorb can soak up approximately 55 gallons so make sure you are prepared if you are hauling larger amounts. A shovel is a MUST for every truck in case you do not have enough so at least you can get some near by dirt.
You can’t leave the spill even if it’s all soaked into your containment products. Heavy duty plastic bags or buckets will be needed to put the material in to be carried away. EZ-Sorb is made so it can be re-used as a spray which is a great option. You could put the material right back in the tank should you run out of bags. Bleach and or soap will be needed to decontaminate the spill site as well. Also a broom and dust pan are must haves for spill control clean up. In the event of spillage on soil or a dry spill the same procedure needs to be used. For soil it will mean digging the soil away until you don’t have any ‘wet soil left.’ Hauling can be a bite so quick action may be your best ally in any scenario.
The forgotten C is Call the office
It never hurts to call in the Calvary and if you’re worried about getting in trouble just think about what might happen if your boss sees the story for the first time on the local news. Just because the camera crew and fire trucks aren’t there by the time you leave doesn’t mean they can’t be there later. This brings up another point, ALWAYS STAY with the spill until you’ve done everything possible to alleviate the problem and have it cleaned up.
Spills happen but the repercussions can sometimes be far worse than the area affected. You should practice spill control EVEN IF YOU ARE A SINGLE OPERATOR. Some water mixed with milk will work to simulate the spill and for posterity why not video yourself doing the procedures. Couldn’t hurt if you are ever called on the carpet and your insurance guy might like it too. This kind of event can send sales for a company straight down and make you and your co-workers the community pariahs, it doesn’t have to turn out this way. I’m not saying you’ll be a hero to the neighborhood for having a spill but knowing how to quickly, efficiently and quietly clean it up will put it behind you and get you back to what you do best, killing bugs.