How To Prevent Chemical Spills

Thursday 20th April 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Chemical spilling from a fallen container CONTENTS

Chemical spills put people’s health at risk, damage equipment, and can result in pollution. Businesses that handle, store, and transport dangerous chemicals must implement preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of them occurring.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we provide chemical spill cleaning services should your preventative measures fail. Our highly qualified and accredited technicians can clean up any spill, regardless of substance, size, and severity. They are available nationwide, 24/7, and can be on site in hours in an emergency.

Keep reading to find out our top tips for chemical spill prevention in the workplace.

Store chemicals properly

Firstly, all containers must be covered. If rainfall enters the containers, it could increase the volume of liquid and make cleaning up a spillage more difficult as it can spread further.

You should also ensure they are kept on secure shelving units. Shelves must be fastened securely to the wall or floor and fitted with “lips” so containers don’t slip over the edge.

You must not store too many containers in one area, either. Overcrowding shelves can lead to them breaking or containers being pushed off. Should one of the chemicals in the area spill, it can make identifying the specific substance difficult, too.

Keep containers as close to the floor as possible so they are easy to reach for employees. This might not always be possible, so prioritise storing hazardous chemicals at or below eye level.

Staff should be trained in how to safely use chemicals

Employees that handle and store dangerous substances must be fully trained in how to do so, as well as how to prevent spills in the workplace.

As they will likely be the first people to notice a spill has happened, their fast, effective response can stop a small spill before it becomes a big, hazardous, expensive problem.

Regularly inspect chemical containers

Checking the outside of containers and where they are stored frequently can help you spot small spills early, and detect potential spills and leaks before they happen. Don’t forget to assess the caps and closures for deformities, and check the containers for any damage and deterioration.

Take appropriate precautions when transporting chemicals

Only use carts suitable for the weight of the chemicals and make sure they have high edges to minimise the likelihood of spills. Ensure you carry glass containers in bottle carriers, too, and use gas cylinder handcarts when transporting large gas cylinders.

Keep your decanting procedures up-to-code

When decanting chemicals, make sure the receiving container is of sufficient volume for the substance so it does not overfill and spill over. Use approved containers for combustible and flammable liquids, as well.

Try to avoid the manual pouring of chemicals, too, and opt for pumps and other mechanical methods. To catch any chemicals leaking during the transferral process, use funnels and containment trays.  

Have a spill response procedure

You must have a spill response plan in place so you can act appropriately and efficiently should a spill happen. It will cover what to do when a spill occurs, and which employees are responsible for what actions.

The plan should regularly be reviewed, updated, and shared with staff, particularly after an incident or near-miss occurs.

What to do when a chemical spills

A chemical spill response usually includes the following four steps. You can find out more about each stage in this blog.

  • Alert your staff: depending on how serious the spill is, evacuate, notify nearby businesses, and contact the authorities. You should also get in touch with the emergency services should someone have been injured by the spill.
  • Stop the spill: stop the chemical spilling further and make the affected area safe, if possible, by turning off ignition sources and securing substances that could react with the chemical.
  • Contain the hazard: if your employees are trained to use them, they should confine the spill with a chemical spill kit. Otherwise, bring in professional chemical spill cleaners to do this.
  • Clean the spill up: professional cleaners will collect any material used to clear up the chemical and dispose of it according to local regulations.

Contact us today

We are a chemical spill cleaning company that can take care of the entire spillage cleaning process for you. They can provide their rapid response services 365 days a year, including bank holidays.

Get in touch with our friendly team on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to get your free site survey and no-obligation quote.

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