How To Deal With A Chemical Spill In The Workplace

Friday 17th March 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Spilled chemical on floor CONTENTS 

Dangerous chemicals are used in most workplaces, whether it’s an office, factory, or farm. Should one of these chemicals spill, you must have it cleaned it up immediately to protect your employees, minimise damage to your property, and prevent pollution.

At ICE Cleaning, we offer rapid response chemical spill cleaning services, and can quickly restore your workplace to a safe, hazard-free environment. Our high-qualified technicians are fully permitted to handle and disposal of chemicals, and can be on site in a matter of hours in an emergency.

Read on to find out what to do when a chemical spills in your workplace.

Communicate: alert employees that a spill has occurred

The moment you become aware of a chemical spill, inform your staff. Depending on how hazardous the substance is and how much has spilled, you may need to evacuate, let other businesses nearby know, and notify the authorities.

Should one of your employees have been injured by the spill, such as slipping in it or coming in contact with the substance, contact the emergency services. In the meantime, remove them from the area if it safe to do so, and flush contaminated areas with lots of water.

Control: stop the spill getting worse

Before it is cleaned up, you must make sure the chemical is no longer spilling, i.e., close the open valve or put the tipped container is the right way up. Only professionals wearing personal protective equipment should do this as they will be in close contact with the substance.

If the chemical is flammable or there is a risk of an explosion, ensure all ignition sources, heat sources, and equipment that could cause a fire are turned off. Any other substances that could react with it must be secured and taken to the chemical segregation storage area, as well.

You should ventilate the room or facility by opening windows to prevent fumes building up, too, but only if there are no passers-by who could be exposed to them.  

Contain: limit the spread of the spill

Next, use absorbent materials, like spill socks and booms, so the substance does not spread further and contaminate other surfaces. It is recommended that a professional with PPE and specialist equipment do this as they can safely and quickly stop the spill.

They may also use drain plugs so the chemical does not go down the drain, or it could contaminate your plumbing system and pollute water sources. Pollution is illegal, and you could face a fine and go to prison. You can find out more about the effects of spills on the environment in this blog.

Then, they will block access to the affected area to prevent people going near the spill. Should you have one, they will activate the containment barrier, or just use caution tape and signs.

If you have a chemical spill kit and your employees are trained in using it, they can control, contain, and clean it up. But to ensure all traces of the substance are removed swiftly, you should bring in chemical spill cleaners.

Clean up: bring in professional cleaners

They will start by collecting the material that was used to contain and neutralise the spill, and then dispose of the waste according to local regulations.

Next, they will thoroughly clean all the surfaces affected by the spill to make sure your workplace is safe again.

Why you must bring in chemical spill cleaners

Should you attempt to clean it up yourself without any training, you may make the situation worse, such as washing the substance down a drain. You also might not remove all of the hazardous chemical and could leave behind a dangerous environment.

A rapid response is essential to reduce the chances of damage and limit your staff’s exposure to the spill. Professional cleaners have the experience and specialist equipment to quickly clear up a chemical spillage.

All contaminated waste, from absorbent materials to contaminated dustpans, must be disposed of according to local regulations, as well. If not correctly stored and disposed of, it could react with other substances, releasing harmful gases or posing a fire risk.

Contact us today

We are a chemical spill cleaning company with years of experience tackling spillages, no matter the size or severity. Our technicians are available wherever you are in the UK, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Get in touch with our friendly team on 0208 066 0360 and enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to book our chemical spill cleaning services.

You can find more guidance about responding to a chemical spill on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.   

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