When your workplace or home requires the use of chemicals it’s important to remember to be extra cautious. Never forget to follow all of the necessary safety and storage procedures to reduce any possible risk of injury or illness. According to the University of Delaware, some of first steps you should take to reduce the chances of a chemical spill are, but not limited to:
- Maintaining a neat and organized work area.
- Storing liquid chemicals in secondary containment bins.
- Keeping reagent chemical containers sealed or closed at all times, except when removing contents.
- Using secondary containment to store and move chemicals.
While it’s important to have the proper training in place to prevent chemical spills, it’s also important to have the training to know how to react if a spill occurs. If a spill does occur, the first step you should take is identifying if the clean up is something you’re qualified to handle. If the chemical spill is too large for you to handle or if it involves more than 500ml of any hazardous material, call for assistance immediately. If the chemical spill is a danger to personnel or involves any sort of toxic chemical, contact the appropriate emergency personnel immediately.
However, if the chemical spill is minor you can appropriately clean up the spill yourself, assuming that you have the proper training and have access to the appropriate equipment. The type of clean up required is dependent on the type of chemical spill that occurs. The following steps are the most commonly used in the occurrence of a chemical spill:
- Identify if there is any danger to the people around you or yourself.
- If you know the spilled chemical is non-toxic and safe to approach: Start by setting up a perimeter around the spill area and by putting on the appropriate protective equipment.
- Spread a chemical spill powder over the spill. Start by pouring the powder around the edges of the spill and work your way to the center of the spill while making sure there is no free liquid.
- Once the liquid has been completely absorbed by the powder: Use a scoop to pick up the powder and to place the powder into an appropriate waste disposal bag.
- Wipe down the area with a wet paper towel and dispose of your gloves and paper towels into the same appropriate waste disposal bag.
It’s important to realize that this guide is not a detailed guide to cleaning up all types of chemical spills. Each spill is different and should be handled differently depending on the specific chemical. If you ever have any doubt in your mind about how to handle a situation, call the appropriate emergency personnel and warn anyone who could be in danger. Both your safety and the safety of those around you is the number one priority.
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company