What Type of Spill Kit Do We Need?
If chemical liquids are used and stored onsite at your workplace, you need to have the right equipment and materials on hand to clean up leaks or spills.
A spill kit’s contents depend on the type of spills they will be used for — for example, oil-based, water-based, corrosive, or another material. Your workplace spill kit should include all the items you will need in the event of a spill. Spill kits can include any of the following:
This absorbs and may also neutralize or contain the spill. Here are the types of absorbent material:
- Universal or General Purpose: Usually gray, these absorbents are intended to clean up both water-based fluids and hydrocarbons.
- Oil Only: These white absorbents that repel and float on water are used to clean up hydrocarbons only (motor oil, jet fuel, diesel, gasoline, hydraulic oil, etc.).
- Hazmat: These yellow absorbents are used to clean up aggressive fluids, such as acids and solvents. Hazmat kits will absorb hydrocarbons as well as water-based fluids.
Other types of absorbent may need will depend on type and size of spill the absorbent will be used for — for example, acid neutralizer for an acid spill; or mercury solution for a mercury spill.
A bucket, plastic bags, or a drum or wheeled cart to hold debris.
Personal protective equipment such as gloves and safety glasses. Additional protective covering such as an apron, protective suit, respirator mask, or boot covers may be needed for certain chemicals.
Labels to mark hazardous waste containers.
When putting together a spill kit for your facility, consider these factors:
- Are there specific regulations or requirements in your industry for how a spill should be cleaned? (Specifically, do industry standards prescribe certain materials for absorption and cleanup, as well as how to safely quarantine the area?)
- Do you just need general-purpose kits for a variety of more benign spills, or do you need a spill kit specific to oil or aggressive fluids such as acids and solvents?
- What is the maximum size of a spill you could face? Make sure your spill kit can accommodate this size.
- Will the spill kits be stored inside or outside?
Make sure that all employees are aware of the location of the spill kits and how to use the cleanup items.
Note that even among spill kits of a specific type or purpose, not all kits contain the same quantity of items. Be sure to check how many pads, socks, and pillows are included, as well as whether goggles, gloves, or other safety items for employees are included. Not all kits are created equal.
Because spill kits are unique to the facility they’re in, a customized spill kit — such as those AbsorbentsOnline builds for our customers who request it — can help you ensure that you have the materials and equipment needed to quickly and safely clean up spills at your work site.