Workplace spills are costly

 

They slow down or even halt production/service, can cause serious injury, and can adversely impact the environment.Spills can also lead to fines, litigation and even the suspension of operating licenses. The good news is that there are a number of simple actions that can be done to prevent spills. While some of these may appear to be commonsense, they are often overlooked. Take time to review these tips with your staff and continuously encourage them to take action to reduce spills.

Spill Prevention

Use smart storage techniques

  • Store materials in appropriate, well sealed containers, and in the proper environment

  • Group similar materials together and post each material storage area with the proper spill response technique and emergency phone numbers

  • Store all materials indoors, away from exterior doors and drains, to prevent environmental contamination

  • Limit materials - minimize risk

  • Minimize the risk of major spills by limiting the amount of hazardous materials stored in your workplace

  • Move materials carefully

  • When moving materials, carry one container at a time or place multiple containers on a rolling cart

  • Look for leaks

  • Check storage equipment, lines and dispensing areas for signs of leaks as often as possible

Spill Response

Know your materials

  • Ensure that all employees are familiar with the proper storage, handling techniques and spill response methods for each material in the workplace.

  • Develop a spill response plan

  • Create a spill response plan and train employees on how to respond to different spills. Maintain materi- al safety data sheets for each material. These sheets should include correct spill response, cleanup and disposal techniques. Be sure each worker reads and understands the worksite spill response plan and keep copies of the material safety data sheets easily accessible so employees can refer to them quickly.

  • Gear up

  • When cleaning up a spill, workers should wear the appropriate protective gear, including gloves, safety glasses, coveralls and respirators. Make sure that all employees know where this gear is stored and when and how to use this equipment.

  • Respond immediately and ask for help 

  • If a worker causes or finds a spill, they should notify their supervisor and surrounding coworkers immediately. If the spill is flammable or volatile material, shut off all flame sources and air out the area. Barricade the spill area so workers avoid exposure to the substance and prevent spilled material from entering floor drains or outside areas. While workers can handle some spills, other spills should only be cleaned by an expert. Ensure that all your employees under- stand when it’s okay for them to clean a spill and when they should contact their supervisor or an outside professional for help.

Report Illicit and Suspicious Discharges

Anything entering the storm sewers other than stormwater or clean uncontaminated water is considered an “Illicit Discharge.” While we completes field assessments to search out these discharges and correct them, public concerns and reports of suspicious discharges to our storm sewers and streams are always handled seriously and are greatly appreciated.

Visually, these discharges can appear cloudy or discolored, may appear as a sheen on top of water, and/or may have an odor. You do not have to identify the source of a discharge to notify us. We will trace the discharge to its origin.

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