How Does A Mercury Spill Kit Work?

Thursday 3rd August 2023

Ellen Warren

No comments, yet!

A yellow bucket marked with an 'emergency spill kit' sign

CONTENTS

When mercury spills in the workplace, it is a distressing situation that warrants immediate action. Most workplaces handling or using mercury will have measures implemented to protect employees from spills, such as keeping a spill kit on-site, which can prevent disaster in a spill.

Our technicians at ICE Cleaning are qualified to tackle situations that require extensive mercury spillage cleaning services. We can be on-site within a few hours of your first call in an emergency, effectively containing, cleaning, and decontaminating an affected site.

Read on to learn more about mercury spills and what a mercury spill kit does.

What is mercury?

Mercury is a toxic metal that occurs naturally in various ways. This element has been used largely in industrial and construction settings for many decades but is now more restricted in its use due to the health risks it is associated with.

Although we continue to use mercury to this day due to its recyclability and conductivity, there are organisations slowly phasing it out. However, until we find replacements, they will continue to be used in various objects. There are three types of mercury we use which include:

Elemental mercury

This form of mercury is well-known and what we usually refer to when discussing mercury. It is a liquid form previously used in thermometers but still in some electrical appliances. When dropped and exposed to room temperatures, it dissolves into a lethal, odourless vapour.

Inorganic mercury

Cinnabar and metacinnabar minerals produce this inorganic mercury, which creates inorganic salts employed in industrial processes. One of these processes, the Castner–Kellner process, is still used in electrolysis methods — the practice of passing an electrical current through an electrolyte solution to create a chemical reaction.

Methylmercury

Also known as organic mercury, methylmercury is cycled between land, air, and water, deposited across the natural elements, and changes its chemical and physical form. Methylmercury is often found in the ocean and ingested by shellfish and large predatory fish.

What types of mercury exposures are there?

There are two types of mercury exposures: general exposures are incidents that can occur at home, and occupational exposures happen in the workplace.

Humans encounter small doses of mercury throughout their lifetime, but large amounts for an extended period could result in illness or death. Exposure to mercury can occur through the following:

  • Eating large amounts of shellfish and predatory fish
  • Broken mercury thermometers and barometers
  • Imported novelty jewellery
  • Exposed electrical switches
  • Dental fillings
  • Illegal skin lighteners and anti-ageing creams
  • Spilled mercury at work

How can a mercury spill occur?

Mercury spills are not as common at home as they are in the workplace. This is because of the tight restrictions on mercury in household products, but some objects, like energy-saving bulbs, use mercury. Therefore, most mercury exposures recorded are occupational.

Workplace exposures occur during transportation, mining processes, chemical processes, or broken mercury products. When this happens, workers are at risk of inhaling the toxic vapours produced by mercury if they are left unprotected.

What is a mercury spill kit?

Mercury spill kits are vital tools for workplaces that either handle or use mercury in their industrial processes. They are integral in the event of a spill to help contain or absorb the element to prevent it from further spreading.

Although some kits may contain different equipment, they all aim to achieve the same result: absorbing, cleaning, and decontamination. The pieces of equipment will include:

  • Calcium hydroxide
  • Sulphur powder
  • Waste container
  • Absorbent materials
  • Mask and gloves
  • Clean-up tools (e.g. syringe, brush, scoop, etc.)

How to use a mercury spill kit

According to NHS guidelines on using a spill kit, you must evacuate, ventilate, and confine the affected area immediately. You should be qualified to deal with a mercury spill before cleaning, wearing gloves and a mask provided by the kit. The following steps include:

  • Using the clean-up tools to collect the mercury
  • Creating a paste with the powders provided and some water
  • Decontaminating the area with the paste
  • Disposing of mercury effectively

A mercury spill kit removes this element using the tools and powders provided. These are designed to remove mercury effectively, and the powders act as an absorbent for the liquid. Once used, a mercury disposal team is still needed to help.

What to do when mercury spills

If you are not qualified to deal with a mercury spill at work or home, you must evacuate the area immediately. Pets, children, and vulnerable individuals should go first to protect them.

Next, ventilate the area by opening doors and windows that lead directly outside to help any dangerous vapours escape. Once you have done this, leave the area and restrict it by alerting others or placing a warning sign on the door.

Finally, you must get in contact with mercury clean-up services, who can attend the site in an emergency and effectively deal with the spill.

Get in touch

Our mercury spill cleaning services can give you the peace of mind that your property is safe again. Our technicians will use state-of-the-art technology that eliminates all traces of mercury and scrubs the air of mercury vapours.

To get in touch with our team about mercury spills, contact us at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. Our technicians are available 24/7, 365 days a year, nationwide, and are ready to assist in an emergency.

Comment
Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

Add to contacts

Speak with me today,
I’m here to help

By asking you a few questions either via phone or email I can immediately provide a realistic estimation of the cost.

You’re in good company. We’ve cleaned for the following commercial clients… View all

Customer reviews

Our happy customers have rated our service as
4.9 on Google.

View All Reviews

Sue Sullivan

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

Ice did a brilliant job and I would highly recommend them. Reilly in the office booked everything in and was most helpful, and then Harry came and…

Read more

Posted on Google

John Hatswell

Star Star Star Star Star

6 months ago

We had a pressing need to address concerns regarding a clean up of a Trauma site. Ice Services and Zoe were responsive, informative and professional.…

Read more

Posted on Google

Eddie Mack

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

I’ve used ICE Cleaning a few times and the service has been absolutely terrific. Paul Gimenez was incredibly helpful and dealt with everything…

Read more

Posted on Google

Martha Sparkes

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

Power cleaned my external brick walls and look very good. They were punctual, hard working and respectful. I would recommend them with no hesitation.

Read more

Posted on Google

Simon Nicholson

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

Booked ICE Cleaning at short notice to help with the clean-up of our outdoor Event Site in Central London. Whilst they were unable to assist with our…

Read more

Posted on Google

Kim Barnes

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

From start to finish, booking in with Jess in the office to Mark and Lee turning up for app 5-star service from start to finish..Quick turnaround…

Read more

Posted on Google

Mark Treasure

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

We recently used ICE Cleaning to assist with the cleaning of communal areas and flats following a fire in a service riser. I initially spoke with…

Read more

Posted on Google

Martin Haw

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very prompt, polite and professional service

Read more

Posted on Google

George C

Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very professional and the sales team are very helpful and easy to deal with. The job was carried out quickly and professionally and the site team…

Read more

Posted on Google

Derik Matheus

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

ICE Cleaning is a great company to work with! They have been cleaning our office for two years, and we are thrilled to have them as part of our team.

Read more

Posted on Google

Dannil Sourez

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

ICE Cleaning Solutions is a serious and responsible company that takes pride in their work.

Read more

Posted on Google

Sam Hart

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very impressed with ICE cleaning, really efficient and had good service. Dealt with my mould issue in my gym really well and couldn’t be…

Read more

Posted on Google

Luke Stockwell

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

We used ICE Cleaning at BT Sport for a Cage Warriors event in our studios. In previous years this event had caused multiple problems due to the risk…

Read more

Posted on Google

Danielle Baycanli

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

ICE cleaning cleaned the floors and carpets of our school to a very high standard. The team was friendly and efficient and we were very happy with…

Read more

Posted on Google

Emma Bryan

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

ICE cleaning completed a commercial clean for us. They were very professional, prompt, responsive and they event went back the next day to finish…

Read more

Posted on Google

Stuart Goodson

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

Zoe as the first point of contact was extremely helpful and efficient. The decontamination of toxic mercury from my mother’s garage was…

Read more

Posted on Google

Nick Barringer

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

I was dealt with very professionally from first contact through to completion. The people are pleasant and knowledgeable, the work was carried out…

Read more

Posted on Google

Jason Etherington

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

Fantastic service, the technician was very understanding and talked us through the process and was happy to answer any questions. Work was completed…

Read more

Posted on Google

Alison Bailey

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

On calling ICE following a spillage, I first came into contact with Zoe. At all times Zoe was courteous, calm and professional. I asked her to call…

Read more

Posted on Google

Elisabeth Underdown

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

We came back from holiday to see a massive mould problem in 2 of our rooms. We checked around but found this company to be best priced, most…

Read more

Posted on Google
Why choose us

Why choose us?

  • Cater to a wide variety of cleaning situations
  • Nationwide coverage, available 24/7
  • Cater to commercial and domestic clients
  • Free survey provided prior to quotation 
  • Emergency response team
  • Offer a bespoke service designed to suit all your needs 
  • All technicians hold professional health and safety qualifications, including BICSc, IOSH, Dewpoint Professional & Safe Contractor 

We’re fully accredited

We place best practise, professional expertise and health and safety at the core of our business. We’re fully compliant with all legal obligations. You can view a list of our accreditations below, or visit our Health & Safety page for more information.

CSCS
BICSc
IOSH
SafeContractor
Dewpoint® Professional Corporate Membership
IPAF
NACSC
0208 066 0360Open 24/7
Close

We use cookies

If you continue without changing your settings we'll assume you're happy to receive our cookies.
If you'd like to change this just update your browser settings. Find out more.

Okay. I got it.