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Where there’s

a spill,
there’s a way
your guide to spill response

Each year, slips and falls in the workplace


cost employees their wellbeing and businesses
their productivity, profitability and reputation.
Liquid spills are major causes of these incidents
and can also harm the environment.

This paper includes information on:

• The risks to your employees and business


• Preparing for spill incidents
• How to respond to spill incidents before they get out
of hand and in ways that reduce the risk of injurious,
even deadly, slips and falls
• Tips on training responders and other employees

It is likely to be of special interest if you hold any of the following positions:

• Maintenance Manager • Administrator


• Technical Specialist • Company Executive or Director
• Operations or Production Manager • Laboratory Technician
• Engineer • Warehouse Manager
• Purchasing Officer • Environmental Health and
• Stores Manager Safety Manager

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Hazards By law, you are obliged to provide
a safe environment for employees
Your profitability is also at
risk – through compensation
you can’t and visitors to your premises.
For more information on the
payouts, lost sales and increased
insurance premiums.
afford regulations you need to comply
with, refer to:
Research shows that most
to fall • Health and Safety at Work
enterprises have scope to
improve in this important but
down on Act 1974.1 often over-looked area of their
activity – remarkably, when
• The Workplace (Health,
Many workplace operations asked, only 13% of members
Safety and Welfare)
require liquids to be stored, of the Institute of Safety
Regulations 1992.1
moved and dispensed on site. and Health thought their
Such processes inevitably involve • The Management of organisations were fully effective
the risk of spillages, reaching Health and Safety at Work at controlling the risk of slips
floors and walkways – turning Regulations 1999.1 and falls.1
clean, dry surfaces that normally You also have an obligation
provide sound footing into to your organisation. Slips
slippery hazards that can provoke and falls on spilt liquids can
injurious, even deadly falls. prompt legal action against
Statistics show that: you for non-compliance with
• Slips and falls are the single health and safety legislation.
most common cause of major Other possible outcomes include
injury in the UK workplace.1 loss of experienced personnel
through injury, an anxious
• 95% of major slips result in
or demoralised workforce,
broken bones.1
disrupted production, and
• Nearly 11,000 major slip or the destruction of your
fall incidents are recorded business’s reputation.
each year.2
• Slip and fall accidents
cost employers more than
£512 million per year.1

Slips and falls on spilt


liquids can prompt
legal action against
you for non-compliance
with health and safety
legislation.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


A surefooted • The health and
environmental risks
3. Confine the spill.
Use Absorbent Socks and
strategy associated with each liquid. non-absorbent Spill Barriers
to keep the spill from
Decades of development, driven • The type and tolerances of all
spreading into walkways,
by the dangers of slippery liquid containers on site.
water sources and drains.
surfaces and by the need for • Your pollution prevention
legal compliance, have created 4. Stop the spill at its source.
equipment inventory and
highly effective containment This may be as simple as
where these supplies
products and technologies to turning a displaced container
are stored.
help you prevent spilt liquids upright or closing a valve, or
You are advised to consult the may require plugging a leak.
from contacting the floor.
Environment Agency’s PPG 21:
Products like Absorbent Mats, 5. Clean Up. Absorbent Pillows
Incident Response Planning
Socks and Pillows soak up and Mat Pads may be used in
for more information on how
everyday discharges and confine conjunction with vacuuming
to survey your workplace for
them close to their sources before and pumping equipment to
spill hazards.3
they can become dangerous complete the clean up after a
slip and fall hazards. large spill.
Nonetheless, more severe spill Use Absorbent 6. Decontaminate. With the
incidents do happen even at initial clean up complete, all
Socks and non-
well-run facilities. To mitigate those exposed to potentially
the worst dangers such events absorbent Spill hazardous materials will
pose – to your employees, your Barriers to keep need to be thoroughly
business and the environment – the spill from decontaminated. Likewise
it’s essential you develop a the affected area – and any
comprehensive Spill
spreading into
tools used such as shovels,
Response Strategy. walkways, pumps and vacuums –
This strategy should comprise: water sources will require cleaning and
and drains. possibly degreasing.
• Advance Risk Assessment
and Preparation. 7. Report. Complete all
reporting procedures in
• An Incident Response Plan for Seven Steps to Smart accordance with local and
immediate implementation Spill Response national guidelines for
when a spill occurs. spill incidents.
Your tactical Incident Response
• On-going training for Plan should be implemented Once your Incident Response
managers, incident immediately after a spill occurs Plan is complete, it’s
responders and other and comprise these seven recommended you review it
employees. sequential steps: with your local fire and rescue
Assess and prepare service, your local authority and
1. Assess the risk. Decide the
the Environment Agency. These
in advance type and amount of liquid
bodies can advise on practices
that has spilled, and the risk
Key to the success of your Spill and procedures and keep a copy
posed to spill responders and
Response Strategy is defining, in of your plan on file.
the environment.
advance of any spill: Copies of the Plan should also be
2. Equip the responders.
• The nature and maximum easily accessible on site, to refer
If appropriate, ensure
potential volume of all liquids to should a spillage occur.
responders have protective
in each area of your facility
clothing and equipment.
likely to spill.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Kill the spill At this point, informing others
and isolating the spill site will
Responders should be familiar
with the PPE available to them.
help reduce the risk of slip and
1. Assess the Risk Chemical-resistance guides will
fall accidents. Communication
also assist the choice of suitable
When a spill happens, the first chains for reporting spills, alarm
protection in the event of a spill
response of all at the scene must procedures, and the option of
and should be readily available.
be to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN. erecting barriers and barricade
• STOP – Never walk tape are issues your Incident
through, taste or touch a Response Plan will need to
spilt liquid, or rush into a consider and employees need to
spill area to help a worker be comfortable executing.
who is unconscious or 2. Equip the Responders
otherwise injured. If there
is an unfamiliar smell in In spill situations, it’s essential
the air, do not venture in that responders are provided
to find the source. with appropriate Personal
Protection Equipment (PPE).
• LOOK – See if you can Different PPE types and styles
tell how big the spill is and have been developed to protect
check the container label or all parts of the body from a
Material Safety Data Sheet myriad of hazards.
(MSDS) to establish the
liquid involved. Look to locate If the exact concentration and
the source of the discharge danger of a spilt liquid is not
and the control equipment certain, best practice is to assume
available in the area. the worst and use kit offering the
Assess whether the spill is highest levels of protection.
heading for drains or other To ensure the PPE offers adequate
sensitive areas, and decide protection, you should consult:
the primary dangers to spill
responders, other co-workers • The Material Safety Data
and the environment. Sheet for the liquid concerned.

• LISTEN – Open your ears • Information supplied by the


for any unusual sounds. If liquid’s manufacturer.
you can hear burst feed lines • Information supplied by the
or released pressure valves PPE’s manufacturer.
hissing, this will help you
identify the spill’s source.

Different PPE types and styles have been developed to protect


all parts of the body from a myriad of hazards.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Kill the spill • Gloves – these shield hands
from corrosive, irritant or
• Also ensure separate PPE
are compatible with each
excessively hot or cold liquids. other – check, for example,
Equip the Responders
that a particular respirator
(continued) • Goggles – these safeguard
does not interfere with a
eyes and faces from chemical
PPE items in common use include: responder’s eye protection.
splashes, flying particles
• Suits – these protect and dust. • It’s important to remember
responders’ bodies and you that PPE does not make
• Boot Covers – correctly
should ensure you obtain responders invulnerable.
sized, these buffer feet from
the right types for the liquid This kit is not part of an
exposure to chemicals, debris
hazards present in your employee’s daily routine, so
and/or abrasive surfaces.
workplace: a person using it needs to be
• Respirators – these isolate doubly cautious. Ensure that
–– Type 1 or 2 Equipment wearers from harmful levels PPE is deployed whenever,
is for use when a spilt of airborne contaminants. wherever a hazardous liquid
liquid is unknown, when
Ensure each PPE set is issued is spilt – even if it seems it
its strength requires the
according to the specifics of the can be dealt with quickly.
highest level of protection,
or when responders could spill and the responder’s needs. • Regular checks should also
be immersed. • Consider the working be made to ensure PPE is
environment. If there’s a being used, and if not, to
–– Type 3 Equipment is for
risk of abrasion, snagging or investigate why.
use when the spilt liquid
demands high levels of tearing, opt for heavier-duty • PPE should be inspected
respiratory protection but kit. Check if two or more periodically to ensure it is fit
skin protection is less liquids have spilled and if the for purpose, especially after
of a concern. PPE’s fabric can resist their each use if being cleaned and
combination. Remember: packed away for re-use.
–– Type 4 Equipment is inadequate PPE is more
for use when the spilt dangerous than no PPE
liquid presents minimal as responders will think
skin hazard and permits they are safe and take
the deployment of air- hazardous actions they
A PPE suit that’s
purifying respirators. otherwise wouldn’t. too small will
–– Type 5 or 6 Equipment • Size matters too. A PPE stretch, making
is for use when there is suit that’s too small will it vulnerable
no potential for splashes, stretch, making it vulnerable
immersion or unexpected
to tearing or
to tearing or bursting. One
inhalation of spilt liquids; that’s too large could billow
bursting. One
a minimal buffer with no or drape to produce an that’s too large
respiratory protection. additional slip hazard. could billow or
drape to produce
an additional
slip hazard.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Kill the spill Circling the spilt liquid
with Absorbent Socks or
• Deploy Non-Absorbent
Barriers to stop spilt
Booms will minimise its liquid spreading to a water
3. Confine the Spill
spread. Place the line of source. Look for barriers
With the risk assessed, and Socks near the leading edge that are easy to move, erect,
enabled by the right PPE, your of the spill, so there’s room decontaminate and re-use.
responders can move to confine to add a second if the first Protective drain covers
the spill and reduce the hazard line becomes over-saturated. placed over drain openings
it poses – not just to co-workers Remember to overlap need to overlap them by at
who could slip and fall, but to the adjoining Socks by several least 8cm on all sides.
wellbeing of your plant and the centimetres, in the direction
environment beyond. of the movement of the liquid,
• Establish isolation or for a stronger barrier effect.
work zones to protect all Spill Kits should be placed
those in the affected area – throughout your facility in Spill Kits contain
especially if the spill presents spill prone areas. Ensure all the supplies you
the danger of an explosion or your purchases are packaged
a respiratory hazard – and to
need to confine,
for fast response and
help maintain site security. immediate access, with first control and clean up
Air-monitoring equipment response items, like Socks an emergency spill.
can be used to define and Booms at the top. Spill
these zones. Kits should never be locked,
• Utilise your Spill Kits. as trying to locate keys can
These contain all the supplies cost you valuable time in
you need to confine, control the battle against spreading
and clean up an emergency slip hazards. Choose Kits
spill. Make sure the Kits, with tamper-proof seals to be
and especially the included sure, at a glance, that the full
Absorbents, are suitable inventory is still inside the
for the liquid hazards in Spill Kit.
your facility:
–– Universal Absorbents
soak up non-aggressive
liquids such as oils, water,
coolants and solvents.
–– Oil-Only Absorbents
take up petroleum-based
liquids such as motor oil,
hydraulic oil, gasoline,
diesel and kerosene.
–– Haz-Mat or Chemical
Absorbents are meant for
aggressive liquids, such as
acids and caustics, and for
unknown liquids.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Kill the spill • Unless plant or other items
within the affected area
• Ensure you collect all spent
materials used to combat
require removal or protection the spill. Absorbents and
4. Stop the Spill at Source
from damage, it’s best to start disposable PPE and tools all
Once a spill is contained, you’ve from the outside of the spill assume the characteristics
minimised the risks of slips and and work towards the centre. of the liquids they’ve been in
falls, waterway pollution and contact with and should be
• Use the buddy system and
equipment damage. But to stop handled accordingly. Such
make sure you are not
the flow of liquid, you still need items must be disposed of in
responding alone. Working
to eliminate the spill’s source. compliance with your local and
in isolation can present a
This may mean: national waste regulations.
risk in itself.
• Righting an upturned • Use Absorbent Pillows,
container. Mats and Socks to soak up
• Placing a leaking vessel in spilled liquids. Pillows are
a secondary containment best for larger and deeper
or overpack. spills, Absorbent Mat Pads
for smaller spills or thin,
• Closing a leaky or faulty dispersed layers. Not all
valve – to help, be sure to absorbents are chemically
clearly mark shut-off valves, compatible with all liquids –
keep them unobstructed for example those containing
and train responders as cellulose should not be used
to their location. with corrosives. So check their
• Plugging a punctured suitability before deployment.
container or hose – for this, • If purity of material is not
repair putty and patches are an issue, you can vacuum
dedicated solutions. certain spills to recover
liquid for re-use. With
At all times, avoid
Ensure that Spill Kits, Overpacks
and other commonly used tools, flammables or corrosives, stepping into spilled
such as non-sparking spanners, the vacuum used must be liquid. If you do,
are readily available in those compatible – for example, you could slip and
areas your pre-assessment only ATEX-approved
machines are suitable for fall, causing you
identified as spill prone.
flammable or explosive serious injury; and
5. Clean Up atmospheres. unless you clean any
With the flow of liquid halted, • For small spills, such residue from your
you can move to assess and as those common in footwear, you will
conduct the clean up. laboratories, another option
is to neutralise the liquid in
track it around the
• At all times, avoid stepping
into spilled liquid. If you question. Be sure to allow workplace, causing
do, you could slip and fall, time in drills and other non- more slip and fall
causing you serious injury; emergency situations for hazards for your
and unless you clean any responders to learn to use
neutralisers properly. Some co-workers.
residue from your footwear,
you will track it around the of these agents create heat
workplace, causing more slip reactions that could influence
and fall hazards for your response efforts.
co-workers.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Kill the spill 7. Report • Training and practice
drills are the best way for
Once the liquid spill at your responders to learn the
6. Decontaminate facility is fully cleaned up, you limitations of their PPE. An
Thoroughly cleansing the spill must complete all notifications actual spill is not the time for
area, all tools and equipment required under local and someone to first experience
used and the responders national regulations. These are restricted mobility, limited
themselves is the final physical likely to include medical reports, peripheral vision and lack
stage of your Spill Response. local council or district reports, of dexterity. All PPE users
Effective decontamination lines internal company reports and should be made aware of
are essential to protecting the notifications to the Environment why these items are needed,
health and safety of employees Agency. Unless you file these, when they’re to be used,
and emergency responders. you and your business may be repaired or replaced, and
severely penalised. their limitations.
• People in the spill area
who’ve slipped and fallen
or been otherwise injured
Instil the • Even office workers, and
others unlikely to come close
should be decontaminated
first so they can receive
drill to the site of a spill, should
be trained as to which exits
medical treatment. The Environment Agency says:
to use, which designated
“You should train your staff so
• Practice drills should meeting area to arrive at, and
they know what they should
incorporate wet and dry who to report to should a spill
and shouldn’t do if there’s a
decontamination procedures incident occur. Otherwise,
spill, where pollution control
so everyone is familiar the resulting chaos, with
equipment is and where a copy
with the process and undecided people milling
of the Incident Response Plan
possible scenarios. about clogged stairwells,
is located. They should also
could result in multiple slip,
• Hazardous materials understand that their health and
trip and fall incidents.
accumulated during the safety is more important than
spill should be removed or stopping a spill.” 4 • Employees who work in spill-
neutralised. To this end, prone areas should receive
• Periodic training sessions
responders must know your more in-depth training. This
inform workers of their
waste disposal arrangements may include instruction on:
personal responsibilities
and where to deposit used how to spot fire hazards
to each other and to the
spill containment supplies. and identify containers by
environment in the event of a
Disposing of waste from their markings; defensive
spill – even if it’s impractical
liquid spills is governed measures to take in the event
for all staff to develop the
by the Environmental of a spill, including emergency
expertise of fully fledged
Protection Act 1990. For shut-down procedures; how
incident responders.
more guidance, consult the to locate and deploy Spill
Environment Agency. Kits; and first-aid, CPR and
defibrillator training.

Periodic training sessions inform workers of their personal responsibilities


to each other and to the environment in the event of a spill.

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk


Absorb the Crucial to minimising the risk
of slips and falls is developing a
Bear in mind that once you’ve
created your Spill Response
lessons comprehensive Spill Response
Strategy. Best practice
Strategy, it will need to be
periodically reviewed and
Slip, trip and fall incidents in the recommends that you: updated, based on monitoring,
UK workplace cost 40 workers learnings from spill events,
1. Assess, in advance of any spill
their lives in 2009 5, with liquids and changes to your company’s
event, the exact risks posed
spilt onto floors and walkways operations and personnel.
by the liquids at your facility.
among the commonest causes.
Observing these recommendations
Such events can also harm 2. Develop a comprehensive,
will help keep your workers safe
the environment and have 7-step Incident Response
– and your business on its feet.
expensive, potentially disastrous Plan. Sourcing sufficient
consequences for affected reserves of suitable Personal
businesses. Legal action against Protection Equipment, Spill
compliance failures, damaged Kits and other key supplies
employee morale, disruptions to will help ensure the plan’s
production, and your business success should it ever need to
reputation tarnished – all these be implemented.
are possible side effects. 3. Ensure all employees are
Even with the best liability trained, in accordance with
insurance, you’re likely to incur their roles and locations, so
considerable expenses. Your they know precisely how to
insurance premiums are likely react in a spill event.
to rise too – for example, an
employee breaking an arm can
increase these by £6,000 or more.1

Sourcing sufficient reserves of suitable Personal


Protection Equipment, Spill Kits and other key
supplies will help ensure the plan’s success should
it ever need to be implemented.

References
1
Health and Safety Executive
2
Your Legal Rights/Barbour Environment Health and Safety
3
Environment Agency/Pollution Prevention Guides 21
4
Environment Agency/Pollution Prevention Guides 22
5
HR Review - 8/2/2010

Registered office: New Pig Ltd • Hogs Hill Watt Place • Hamilton International Technology Park • Blantyre G72 0AH
Freephone: 0800 919 900 • Fax: 0800 731 5071 • pigpen@newpig.com

© 2010 New Pig Ltd. All rights reserved. • facebook.com/newpiguk • www.newpig.co.uk