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Monthly Archives: November 2018

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  • A guide to spill control in the workplace

    Worker panicking beside a spilt barrel with radioactive symbol sign. Vector cartoon illustration on radioactive spill industrial workplace accident concept isolated on plain background.

    Anyone who has ever slipped on a wet floor can testify to the fact that even seemingly harmless substances can be hazardous when spilled. Of course there are slips and falls to consider, but also other issues could cause harm to people, the environment and result in costly fines. Something as innocuous as milk, for example, in enough volume, will kill marine life in waterways or promote algal growth in drains.

    The way staff respond to a spill in the workplace can make a really big difference to the outcome.  Here are a few tips to help ensure spill hazards are dealt with as effectively as possible.

    What problems can spill hazards cause?

    The main hazards fall into four broad categories: slips and falls, health exposure, explosion and fire and environmental pollution.


    Ensuring that all staff understand that the potential consequences of a spill is an important first step in how your business copes with spills and in helping you to prevent spills in the workplace. Basic training to ensure staff understand that preventing spills can help co-workers to avoid injury and long periods off work as well as avoiding potential environmental damage and possible fines from the HSE is a first step.

    Also make sure that staff are allocated clear roles and responsibilities in the event of a spill and make sure these measures are written into your health and safety policy. It is a legal requirement and good business practice to involve safety representatives of your business in your spill response plans and training.

    Staff also need to ensure that powders and liquids are stored safely. If you have chemicals keep them in a marked lockable cupboard.


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    Even small but regular spills can add costs to your business.  Things like oil dripping from machinery or solvent bottles knocked over through careless handling and someone forgetting to put the top back on securely all cost money, and small sums add up to big ones over time.


    What to do in the event of a spill

    Step 1: CLEAR THE AREA

    As soon as  the staff member responsible for an area is informed of an incident, all personnel who do not need to be at the scene must be cleared from the affected area immediately.

    If the substance is hazardous the alarm should be raised immediately and the staff member in charge should also find out whether anyone has come into contact with it and arrange first aid and medical attention if necessary.



    Depending on the area, access can be restricted by placing barrier tapes and / or warning notices.



    Next, gather information from the person who reported the spill and those who know the area and materials. The details you need include:

    • the substance
    • the quantity
    • its state (flowing or stable)
    • the location. Is it enclosed or open? Are there any materials nearby that could compound the hazard? Are there any drains that it could enter?

    If the liquid spill is non-hazardous, you have to determine whether it poses a slip risk.


    Make sure you have the right type of absorbent materials and cleaning detergents for substances on site and store them close to the site of a potential spill.  Some absorbents are good for dealing with oil, others with water, and still others with combinations of them. Some work on water; others are better suited to dry application.

    Click here to see our range of floor cleaning products and equipment

    We also stock a range of spill control products and can supply a wide range of additional products to cover all applications. Why not contact our sales staff for advice on what product would suit your application best?

    We  offer FREE site surveys which will give you recommendations on how best to equip your facility, along with many more tips and helpful planning advice. Taking advantage of this will not only make it easier for you to specify what is needed but gives peace of mind and helps prove due diligence in the event of any subsequent spill or disaster.

    As always if you would like any advice, please contact our team. Email sales@cisafety.com or call 01726 74264.

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