If your business involves the handling of toxic chemicals, it is the role of the employer to make sure all staff knows the proper protocol in order to prevent injury and/or illness. In the event of a chemical spill, take a look at the following procedures to minimize damage and loss of productivity.
A spill is considered minor when it is contained to a small area, did not result in and does not present the risk of a fire or explosion, and did not result in personnel requiring medical attention. This is what should be done:
- Alert everyone in the immediate area of the spill.
- Put on the appropriate PPE (coat, gloves, goggles, etc.).
- Contain the spill with spill pillows or other similar materials.
- Once absorbed, place spill pillows in a secondary container, and label the container clearly.
- Notify Environmental Health & Safety to pick up the container.
- Thoroughly clean the area where the spill occurred.
- Properly dispose of your PPE.
A major spill is obviously more serious than a minor one; it is characterized by resulting in personnel needing medical attention, results in a fire or explosion or presents the risk for fire or explosion, is not contained, or is deemed as such by the Emergency Coordinator. This is what should be done:
- Remove anyone who has been injured or contaminated, as long as it can be done safely.
- Contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802, which will help you in deciding how to respond to the spill. If there has been a fire, call the local fire department.
- Remove any contaminated clothing or other materials and use a safety shower if possible.
- Seek medical attention if you or someone else has been exposed.
- Do not attempt to clean up a major spill on your own.
The specific response to a spill will vary depending on its type, size, location, and a number of other factors. Remember, the number one priority in the event of a spill is to protect personnel; confining the contamination is second (if you are trained and authorized to do so).
Courtesy of the Tufts University.
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