Are you using the correct spill kit?

Are you using the correct spill kit?

Spill Kits are an important and effective way of managing potentially dangerous spills and leaks, but it’s also important to make sure that the type of Spill Kit you are using is suitable to handle spills safely and efficiently. Read on to find out which ones you need to keep on-site.

If you are responsible for a site that regularly uses, transports or stores bulk liquids or chemicals, you need to have a spill kit ready to deal with any accidents. In some cases, these are mandated by the HSE through COSHH rules, in others, they are a key part of ISO guidelines to achieve or maintain compliance. They could be required by industry bodies like the Considerate Constructors Scheme, or it could just be best practice for good site health and safety. Whatever the motivation, it is important to be aware of the different kinds of spill kits available, and make sure that you have the right ones stocked, easily accessible, and ready to go.

The Main Spill Kit Types Explained

Oil Spill Kits – The most common use for spill kits is with oil, and any business storing large amounts of it on a regular basis will need to have provisions on hand to deal with spills. The secret to these kits is that their absorbent materials repel water, meaning that in damp or wet environments they only soak up hydrocarbons such as oils and fuels. These hydrophobic materials are extremely useful for clearing up spills outdoors or where oil has mixed with water, as they don’t become saturated with the wrong liquid.

Oil spill kits normally use absorbent pads and materials that are white in colour.

Universal Spill Kits – These general use spill kits are a great all-rounder. Not only are these able to absorb water-based liquids such as coolants, but they are still highly effective with oil, fuels and solvents. They are ideal for businesses storing a more diverse range of liquids on-site and can be easily identified by their grey colour.

Chemical Spill KitsSpilt chemicals, harsh acids and strong alkalis can be damaging to the environment as well as your equipment and flooring and, above all, to your staff. The absorbents used in chemical spill kits are designed to stand up to these hazardous fluids, quickly and efficiently soaking up the spill or leak without breaking down. These spill kits have yellow coloured absorbent materials, which makes them easy to distinguish in an emergency.

AdBlue Spill Kits – The newest addition to the spill kit marketplace, AdBlue kits are used to soak up the diesel exhaust fluid (an aqueous urea solution) used in reducing nitrous oxide emissions in diesel engines. Usual fuel and oil spill kits are not best suited to absorbing this particular chemical, so if you store or use a lot of AdBlue, these dedicated spill kits are essential.

The materials used in these kits are usually a darker grey and are supplied in recognisable blue containers.

How many spill kits do you need?
In addition to making sure you get the right kind of spill kit; it is also important to get the appropriate number and size. The most popular sizes, based on their absorbent capacity, are between 90 litres and 240 litres, but the choice available can vary greatly depending on your needs.

For larger sites with more than one liquid storage or use area, it is good practice to spread out smaller kits rather than one huge kit. This means that an initial response to a spill or leak can be fast, and can then be supplemented as necessary by using kits from other areas.

If your business includes the transport and delivery of liquids, whether in tankers or drums, there are small, in-vehicle spill kits available in most different kinds of absorbents. These can be kept in the cabs of your tankers or in vans/trucks, and allow drivers to quickly and safely deal with any spills whilst on the road. Make sure to check any local and industry-specific guidelines and regulations around spill management. 

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