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Guidelines for Effective Spill Control


  • Develop an emergency spill response plan.
  • Ensure a file of all Material Safety Data Sheets are kept at all high risk areas and in a central position. These sheets are available from the chemical manufacturer and are a requirement of COSHH.
  • Train staff in its procedures and have regular refresher training.
  • Post the names and telephone numbers at every high risk area, telephone, fire point of key contacts including the local Environment Agency or SEPA.
  • Ensure that a supply of sorbents, protective clothing, shovels, bags and storage bins are available at all high risk areas with a back-up supply at hand. These should be stored in a dry, easily accessible position. All sorbent materials should be labelled with the chemicals for which they are suitable.

Spill Control:

  • Immediately minimise the amount of spilt material by eliminating its source - if this can be done without risk e.g. upright overturned container, shut off leaky valve, plug punctured drum.
  • Report any spill immediately to the person responsible. Never assume someone else has already reported the accident.
  • Wear proper protective clothing, goggles and gloves unless it is known without any doubt that the material presents no hazards.
  • Evacuate non-essential staff. Barricade the spill area.
  • Identify the spilled material by checking its Material Safety Data Sheet.
  • Identify compatible sorbent material and place a ring of it around the spilt material.
  • Place another circle outside the first with some distance between them to contain any overflow.
  • Apply more sorbent material until all liquid has been absorbed.
  • Clean up all traces of the spill using a shovel to place the contaminated sorbent material into suitable storage bins or bags. Label bins and bags.
  • Take all safe measures to stop any spilt liquid from reaching drains or water courses. Should this happen report the spill immediately to the Environment Agency or SEPA.
  • Consult local authorities to determine proper disposal options.
  • Replenish local stocks of spill control materials.
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