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Deploying Spill Kits to Contain a Chemical

May 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 200

Spills come in all types and sizes. As a result, spill kits contain a variety of absorbents designed for containing and picking up certain substances. Some kits and absorbents are designed for large-scale oil spills, while others are better-suited to chemicals in a smaller area.

In either case, however, spill kits must be quickly deployed to contain and clean up the chemical. Otherwise, the substance, which may likely be hazardous, can make its way to the drain and enter the environment, cause an injury or illness, or start a fire. Additionally, before a spill kit is taken out and set up, be aware of the spilled substance's nature: is it an oil, water-based, an acid, hazmat, or unknown? If it's an oil- or petroleum-based substance, an oil-only spill kit has the right properties. If the substance is hazardous or unknown, a universal hazmat kit is the most appropriate. If an acid has spilled, the liquid must be neutralized before an absorbent is added.

Procedures for spill cleanup follow OSHA 29 CFR 1910, 40 CFR 112, 261, and 264. Along with a spill kit, workers addressing the hazard must have personal protective gear and decontamination supplies on hand. Gloves, goggles, and even suits prevent them from getting contaminated, while decontamination pools and eyewash stations assist those exposed. Generally, flushing the exposed areas removes or dilutes the chemical. Additionally, those in the area with the spill must leave immediately to reduce contamination and spreading.

As the spill kit is deployed, workers must consider the possible effects of a chemical spill. First, consulting the MSDS determines the type of substance, and if the chemical is flammable, the space must be ventilated and all sources of flames need to be controlled. If the substance reaches a drain or similar hole, it can enter and contaminate the water supply, and to prevent this, socks must surround the perimeters of such openings. Socks alone, however, merely contain the chemical, and instead, additional absorbents are necessary to prevent spreading.

Mats, rolls, pads, and pillows soak up a substance spread out over a greater area. Loose absorbents are another option. For loose absorbents, sprinkle the particles over the liquid, and then the chemical turns into a gel-like substance. Once it solidifies, it can be scooped up and contained inside a polyethylene bag, pail, or drum for disposal, and spill kits typically include one of these containers. For proper disposal, the container must be labeled correctly and then be kept in a hood or similarly-ventilated area.

Source: EzineArticles
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