How To Clean Up Oil Spills

Friday 11th November 2022

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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CONTENTS

An oil spill can cost be expensive for businesses, from clean up charges and fines to production losses and business disruption. If there is damage to your equipment, machinery, or site, your profits could be impacted in the future.

Responding to a spill quickly, safely, and effectively is critical to protecting your employees and getting your business back up and running.

At ICE Cleaning, our oil spill clean up experts and their state-of-the-art equipment can make your workplace safe and clean again, wherever it is in the UK. Our technicians are available 24/7 and can be on-site to deal with your emergency in 60 minutes.

To find out more about how best to clean up an oil spill, keep reading.

Why are oil spills in the workplace so dangerous?

Whether it takes place in the sea, a factory, a garage, or even the home, every oil spill is serious. The severity obviously depends on the type of oil and size of the spill.

Check out our infographic to find out more about the different types of oil spills.

Spilled diesel, gasoline, and hydraulic oil present many health hazards for your employees. As they are used for fuel and machinery including forklifts, trucks, and industrial equipment, they are some of the most frequent workplace spills.

Here are the health and safety risks oil spills can create:

  • They can make surfaces slippery and might cause people to fall and get injured
  • Some are highly flammable and can easily become a fire risk if there is a flame or spark
  • The vapours can lead to health problems after prolonged exposure, from dizziness and increased blood pressure to headaches
  • Some chemicals in oil vapours can cause trigger illnesses such as cancer
  • If oil touches your skin, you could have a painful reaction including itching and blistering

You need an oil spill response plan

Given the chances of one occurring and the dangers they pose, you should always be fully prepared.

A spill response plan is critical to ensure you keep your staff safe and minimise damage to the environment, and can resume operations as soon as possible. Let’s look at the steps that should make up your plan.

1. Communicate the hazard

The moment an oil spill is noticed, you should notify all the staff working in the area and supervisors.

Depending on the size of the spill and the risk it poses, evacuate your staff and follow your emergency procedure. The Health and Safety Executive provides lots of helpful guidance on what to include in your emergency plan.

If the spill warrants you to contact the emergency services, make sure you tell them what was spilt and how much so they know how best to tackle it.

2. Stop the oil from spreading

First, it will need to be stopped at source, whether that's closing valves or righting a tipped over container. Only a professional with the appropriate PPE should do this. 

They will then use spill control equipment to limit the spread of the oil and prevent it from damaging the workplace.

Any drains or sewers will need to be plugged, too, to limit the contamination of the environment. Leave this to the professionals too.

3. Remove the ignition sources

Make sure there are no ignition or heat sources in the area. If there are, ensure you and your staff are a safe distance from the scene.

Then, call the emergency services immediately so they can provide the appropriate guidance and help.

4. Clean up the oil and chemical waste

You should not attempt to clean up oil spills yourself. Even the small ones can be dangerous and notoriously difficult to clean up properly. This thick, heavy substance leaves an oily residue on everything it comes in contact with.

Only professionals can thoroughly clean the spill site and any other surface affected by the spill including floors, walls, doors, and equipment. They have the specialist products, equipment, and the personal protective gear to remove all traces of the oil and stay safe while doing so.

Specialists will ensure that there is no oil residue present in the workplace, as this could make your working environment dangerous for the foreseeable future.   

The professional cleaners also know how to correctly dispose of the contaminated oil and chemical waste. If done incorrectly, the local area could become polluted.

For any oil spill, you should bring in professional cleaners

No matter how big or small, every oil spill requires specialist experience, equipment, and gear. Call in the experts and they can safely and effectively clean up the oil, and correctly dispose of the waste.

Get in touch

At ICE Cleaning, our technicians have lots of experience with oil spill clean up. We can help with gasoline, diesel, and hydraulic oil spills, and with oil spills in water, on soil, and hard surfaces.

Reach out to our team on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk, day or night, to get a free survey and quote.

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