Who Cleans Up Chemical Spills?

Thursday 6th July 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Spilled chemical being clean up CONTENTS

A quick, appropriate response to a chemical spill is essential to protect your employees’ health, minimise potential damage to your workplace, and resume operations as soon as possible. Chemical spill clean up must be left to trained professionals.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer rapid response chemical spill clean up services. Our technicians are fully permitted to handle and dispose of chemicals, and can deal with any type of hazardous substance, including acids and alkalis. We operate nationwide, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Continue reading to find out what to do when a chemical spills and who is supposed to clean it up.

Who should clean up a chemical spill

In a laboratory or workplace, staff can clean up small chemical spills so long as they have the right training, personal protective equipment (PPE), and supplies to do so. Only people trained to use chemical spill clean up kits should use them.

If the spill poses a considerable danger to staff, is a fire hazard, or is more than one gallon, chemical spill clean up professionals must be brought in. They will have the knowledge, equipment, and PPE to take care of a spill safely and quickly, no matter its size or substance.

What to do when a chemical spills

An effective spill response plan is critical to stopping small accidents from becoming major problems and speeding up the cleaning process.

You must have a chemical spill response procedure in place so your employees understand the hazards of a spill and know what to do in the event of one. Regularly update your procedure when new chemicals are brought on site and train your employees in how to follow it.

You can find more guidance on emergency response and spill control measures here. Below is an overview of how you should deal with a chemical spill.

Alert your staff that a spill has occurred

Let the relevant employees know that a chemical has been spilled immediately. If the substance spilled is highly toxic, volatile, flammable, or large, evacuate the facility as soon as possible and notify nearby businesses and the authorities.

Should one of your colleagues have been injured, remove them from the spill area as long as it does not put you in danger. Otherwise, wait for the emergency services.

Prevent the spill from getting worse

First, stop the chemical from spilling any more, such as sealing the leak in the container or putting the tipped container upright. This must be done by professionals wearing full PPE to minimise their exposure to the substance.

Next, make sure all ignition and heat sources are switched off if the chemical is flammable. Other substances that could react with it should also be secured and taken to a chemical segregation storage area.

The room or facility must then be ventilated by opening windows so fumes can’t build up. If there are people outside the facility, don’t open the windows or they could be at risk of inhaling harmful fumes.

Contain the chemical’s spread

The spill will then need to be controlled with specialist equipment, like absorbent spill socks and drain plugs, to stop the chemical spreading, going down the drain, or spreading onto soil and into water sources. Only professionals wearing correct PPE should do this.

They will then stop people going near the site by blocking access to the area with caution tape, signs, and, if you have one on site, a containment barrier.

Should you have chemical spill kits on-site and your employees are trained to use them, they can contain the spill themselves.

Clean up the spill

Trained professionals should then use specialist absorbent material, like pads and mats, to soak up the chemical. Any material that contained and neutralised the spill will then be disposed of according to local regulations.

Finally, they will clean the surfaces contaminated by the chemical spill to ensure the facility is safe to work in.

Why only trained professionals should clean up chemical spills

Chemical spill cleaning is very dangerous as you have to come in close contact with harmful substances. You could be at risk of burns, damaged eyesight, or respiratory problems, and may even have an increased chance of cancer. Some chemicals can even give off toxic gases and be flammable.

Cleaners from a chemical spill clean up company will have the PPE and training to safely clean the spillage, too. They have the specialist products and equipment to remove all traces of the chemical so none is left behind, ensuring your workplace is a safe environment again.

You also may not have the tools and knowledge to clean it up quick enough and the spill could cause damage to your equipment and even structural damage to the building. If a fire breaks out, for example, it could degrade its foundation.

Incorrectly cleaning up a chemical spill might lead to pollution, as well. Washing the substance down the drain or onto soil may result in ecological damage, and pollute animals’ habitats and food sources.

Chemical spill clean up specialists, like our technicians, have the expertise and equipment to thoroughly and appropriately clean the spill, and correctly dispose of the waste.

Get in touch

Our fully qualified technicians have been accredited by a number of organisations including BICSc, IOSH, and SafeContractor. In an emergency, they can be on site in several hours.

Contact our team today on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our chemical spill cleaning services.

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