Trends in spill containment, absorbents
Having a plan in place is key when it comes to spills in the workplace.
“Users certainly need to be prepared with the right absorbent or containment material for the job,” Jenn Weyant, technical manager, and Chris Iuzzolino, product operations manager, for Tipton, PA-based New Pig Corp., wrote in an email to Safety+Health. “They need to be aware of what is compatible with their liquids, how they can find the [Safety Data Sheets] and the appropriate spill cleanup procedures.”
Noting that a lot of focus has been placed on better ergonomics for workers who use spill containment products, Robert Ennis, commercial business leader for Milwaukee-based Brady SPC, said new absorbent mops address this concern.
“By combining a traditional absorbent pad or pillow with an extendable mop handle, the user is able to clean spills from a standing position and get into hard-to-reach places,” Ennis said. “In some cases, these absorbent mops offer a ‘no-touch’ connection that allows the user to dispose of the absorbent pad from the mop without having to touch the liquid that was absorbed.”
Areas of concern
Calling it “the most common misuse of spill containment products,” Ennis said workplaces are using spill kits as spill stations.
“A lot of customers have spill kits placed throughout their facilities to help in the event of an emergency, but what usually happens is that people use pieces of the kits for everyday spill control,” he said, adding that the issue with this is that when an emergency spill occurs, the kit doesn’t have enough products to contain it. “The best solution is to have spill stations throughout the facility to store absorbents for everyday spill control needs and leave the spill kits for emergency spill containment.”
Weyant and Iuzzolino said workers often oversaturate their absorbents. “Signs of oversaturation include pooling around the base of the absorbent and liquid seepage from underneath the absorbent,” they wrote. “We also see where people discard absorbents before they are fully used because they look dirty.” To remedy this, they recommend flipping or rotating the absorbent to get maximum use.
Train, train, train
When products and technologies are used incorrectly, it’s most often because of a lack of training, Weyant and Iuzzolino said. “Taking the time to teach employees how to use spill containment and response products, and giving them opportunities to use that training during drills and exercises, can correct this,” they wrote.
Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association
Coming next month: