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Spill Response - Risk Based

Posted by Ian Good on 1 May 2018

HAZCON has been requested numerous times to develop and deliver spill response training as well develop site specific procedures to address spills.

The one thing we come across in developing these materials is the multitude of possible scenarios that have to be anticipated and then responded to.

The spill response in a warehouse of known types or classes of chemicals will differ from a spill at a large water treatment plant or in a scientific laboratory. Employers and/or occupiers, the term differs whether they store dangerous goods or not, need to develop control measures including mitigation measures based on risk.

Where the risk is high, such as a loss of a 1000L tank of Sulphuric Acid, the response would be to evacuate if bunding was not in place; whereas the loss of 2.5L of Sulphuric Acid could be addressed with a well-stocked, properly ordered and readily available spill kit. What I mean by properly ordered, is that the most likely component of the kit you need first to use is on the top. Typically, this will be the absorbent boom/sausage followed by the absorbent pads. If you have to don chemical gloves and safety goggles prior to employing the absorbent materials, the spill, in my view, is too dangerous to address.

Employers need to consider, based on a risk management-based approach, the types and quantities of chemicals they store, the location and type of spill kit and the training of their personnel to use the kits, if a spill was to occur.

Author: Ian Good

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