How To Use An Oil Spill Kit

Wednesday 24th January 2024

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Oil spill kits CONTENTS

When an oil spill happens in the workplace, a quick, effective clean up is essential to protect people's health, minimise damage to the property, and get operations back on track. An oil spill kit can prepare you for a potential spill. 

In the event of a large spill of a dangerous substance or you do not have an oil spill kit on site, our oil spill cleaning service can help. Our specialist technicians are fully permitted to handle and discard of any oil, and have experience cleaning up surface and water oil spills. 

Keep reading to learn more about oil spill kits and how to use one.

What is an oil spill kit?

There are lots of different spill kits available for dealing with hazardous substances including general-purpose kits for absorbing both water-based fluids and hydrocarbons, and chemical spill kits. A spill kit for oil is a collection of tools and materials specifically designed for cleaning up oil spills. They are essential in environments where oils, fuels, or other hydrocarbons are stored and used.

Oil spill kits come in a range of sizes. It is recommended your spill kit should be able to clean up a quarter of the oil you store on site. Small operations might just need a portable bag filled with absorbents pads and socks for small leaks, whereas larger sites might need wheelie bin kits packed full of much more equipment.

What do oil spill kits contain?

Absorbent materials

Usually spill kits contain pads and rolls for skimming off surfaces and soaking up as much liquid as possible, and absorbent socks that control the spill and stop liquids from travelling from the affected area. Loose granules may also be included which can absorb the oil.  

Disposable containers

Oil is a hazardous substance and the materials used to clean it up must be disposed of in the right way. The specialty-marked disposable bags and containers can help you contain and dispose of the waste according to local regulations. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Gloves protect hands from getting covered in oil, goggles shield eyes from splashes, while overalls keep clothes and skin protected against the harmful substance.

How to clean up an oil spill with a spill kit

Only people trained in using a spill kit should use one to clean up a spill. Otherwise, bring in oil spill cleaning professionals to deal with the problem.

Put on PPE

Make sure you're wearing the right protective clothing for the situation which should be in the spill kit to protect your health. 

Contain the spill

Next, stop the spill from spreading with absorbent socks or booms. They will act like barriers and keep everything contained within a specific area.

This will make clean up easier and prevent oil spreading onto soil or going down drains which can damage the environment. 

Absorb the oil

Use absorbent pads and pillows to soak up the oil. Be careful to ensure you get every trace of oil - any left behind will continue to put people's health at risk,  

Dispose of the waste

All soaked materials need proper disposal according to local regulations. Disposal bags should be used to collect used absorbents which are then sealed off securely ready for collection by authorised waste management services.

You can learn more about what to do when an oil spill occurs in the workplace in this blog

When to bring in professionals for oil spill cleaning

Oil spills are complex incidents that can have far-reaching environmental impacts. Knowing when to call in the experts is crucial, and there are specific situations where professional intervention is essential. 

If you're dealing with a large volume spill, you should bring in specialists specialists. A rule of thumb is if your on-site resources or emergency response team cannot contain and clean up the spilled oil within an hour, it’s more than a job for your spill kit.

This is not just about quantity; even smaller spills can be deceptive if they spread quickly or threaten sensitive areas. If you’re unsure whether the situation calls for expert attention, erring on the side of caution could save you significant trouble.

Certain types of oil and chemicals require specialised knowledge to handle safely, as well. When hazardous substances are involved in a spillage, only trained professionals should tackle them because they understand how these materials interact with different surfaces and know how best to mitigate risks.

Sometimes what determines necessity is not just what has been spilt but who is available on site. Attempting to use an oil spill kit without training can exacerbate issues rather than resolve them, such as letting oil go down a drain, or disposing of the waste incorrectly.

In cases where spills occur near water bodies or other ecologically sensitive areas, professional oil spill cleaners should also be brought in as soon as possible. They will be equipped with the right tools for clean up, and know the strategies designed specifically around preserving natural ecosystems while tackling spills.

Get in touch

Our specialist cleaners are available nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year. In the event of an emergency, they can be on site within hours, wherever you are in the UK. 

You can find out more about our oil spill clean up services by calling 0208 066 0360 or sending an email to

Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

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