Many businesses use potentially dangerous chemicals every day. While usually these chemicals are safely controlled, in the event of an accidental spill they can put your employees, and your business, in real danger.
Cleaning up chemicals the right way is essential to everybody’s safety. Here are five things you absolutely, positively need to know about chemical spills and how to control them properly.
If you use potentially harmful chemicals in your workplace, you better have a plan in place in the event of a spill. This should include a spill kit that includes everything you need to clean up small spills of chemicals commonly used at your business.
Make sure all employees are familiar with the spill kit and how to use it to control and remove chemical spills. Your employees also should know the locations of fire extinguishers, manual fire alarm pull stations, eye wash stations, emergency showers, and telephones they can use to call for more help.
In dealing with chemical spills, never allow anybody to work alone. If one person is overcome by hazardous chemicals, nobody else may even be aware of it until it is too late.
Instead, always take a team approach to controlling and cleaning up chemical spills in the workplace. Have at least two employees assigned to the task at all times.
While you and your employees may be able to control small spills, if the chemical spill is too big for you to handle you will need to call for professional help.
Call the fire department for spills that present an immediate hazard of fire, explosion, or injuries due to chemical exposure. Firefighters also should be called for any spill of highly dangerous or caustic chemicals, as well as moderate- to large-scale chemical spills.
If a chemical is spilled, anybody not assigned to controlling or cleaning it up should be removed from the area. Breathing vapors from some chemicals can cause extreme danger to the health and safety of your people.
If you deem it necessary, evacuate the chemical spill area and let the professionals do their jobs.
Not every chemical spill is cause for freaking out. Small spills that can be cleaned up safely can be handled by staff trained in the proper protocols. Just make sure to replenish your spill kit supplies afterward so the kit is ready when you need it next.