Chemical Spill Response | Using Spill Kits

January 28, 2014

In the event of a chemical spill, follow your company’s Health and Safety procedure:

Stop and think. Stop working. Stop the spill.

Assess the chemical spill situation

  • How big is the spill?
  • Are there any injuries associated with the spill?
  • Has it made contact with your skin or personal clothing?
  • Can it be safely cleaned with a spill kit?

Immediate actions

  • Call Emergency Services on 999 or 112 if there is a medical emergency or danger to life, health or the environment.
  • Alert the people nearby.
  • Isolate the area.
  • Restrict access to those involved in the spill cleanup.
  • Determine the extent of the spill.
  • Keep doors closed.
  • Monitor yourself carefully and completely.
  • Check yourself for any chemical contamination or signs/symptoms of exposure (e.g., wet clothing, skin or respiratory irritation).
  • For medical emergencies, follow directions under “Personal Injury.”
  • Stay in or near the area until help arrives.
  • Minimize your movements so as to avoid spreading contamination to other areas.
  • Have a person who is knowledgeable about the incident be available to talk to or assist Emergency Personnel.
  • Notify your Work Lead.

Chemical spill cleanup requirements

You can clean up a chemical spill if ALL of the following requirements are met:

  • There is no potential for release to the environment. (NOTE: Care must be taken to avoid spreading or tracking chemical contamination to other areas.)
  • There are no personal injuries resulting from the spill.
  • You know what the chemical hazards are.
  • The cleanup procedures are known and you have the proper spill cleanup materials.
  • You have the proper PPE to protect yourself during the cleanup.
  • Two people can clean the spill up thoroughly within an hour.
  • The spill does NOT involve elemental mercury. Special cleanup and monitoring procedures are required for mercury spills. Moreover, mercury contamination is easily tracked to other areas.
  • If ALL of the above requirements are not met, or if you have any DOUBTS about your ability to safely and effectively clean up the spill, then:
  • Leave the immediate area.
  • Close the door.
  • Stay close by and control access.
  • Place a warning sign of the entrance door “Spill—Do Not Enter” and
  • Call Emergency Services 999 or 112 for assistance.

Other chemical spill cleanup considerations

Review these guidelines periodically—you must be familiar with them and know what to do before a spill occurs.
Understand the hazards of the chemicals you use. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheets.
Keep spill cleanup kits in your work area. There are different types for acids, bases and solvents.
These are commercially available from Chemstore. It is important to note that absorbents and other materials used for spill cleanup need to be “inert” to the spilled material. For this reason, combustible materials such as sawdust and paper towels are generally inappropriate substitutes for the materials contained in spill kits. Wear the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to protect yourself. The minimum includes a lab coat (or coveralls), chemical goggles, and chemically resistant gloves rated for the chemical(s) of concern.

Contact the Health and Safety Team at Chemstore for more details on:

Ireland: Phone: 061 327792
UK: Phone: 208 704 1807



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