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Optimize Containment & Recovery, Tricks & Tools, Updates



Chapter 4 – Optimize Containment & Recovery

We have already discussed how pre-planning and training are essential to initiating a competent and approved response

Priority #1 is safety of personnel. Sometimes evacuation is the best and only response (i.e. toxic fumes are present and there are not enough breathing apparatuses for all employees).

7 Steps To Spill Control

1) Develop a plan

Know how to report a spill and who to report to. Have a responsible manager that makes authoritative decisions.

2) Identify the spill

If a chemical is unknown, initiate the approved responders so that untrained personnel are not exposed to safety hazards. Responders are trained in WHMIS and TDG and can gather the appropriate information to respond and protect them from a spill (i.e. wear proper PPE, collect appropriate spill equipment, etc).

3) Contain the spill

Site control to cordon off the area, warn other emplyees, proceed with the clean-up or notify the responsible manager to initiate third-party response.

4) Stop the spill at the source

Close valves; position containers so that holes are facing upwards; use sealant procedures to temporarily stop leaks or to prevent liquids from escaping.

5) Minimize the risk

Use spill kit contents to neutralize or suppress vapours from released substances. Understanding the chemical characteristics will assist in determining how to stabilize a spill before using sorbents and disposal.

6) Pick up the spill

There are three main types of sorbents; Universal, Oil-Only and Hazmat. They come in Pads, rolls, pillows, booms, socks and granular form. In order to optimize costs in both sorbents and disposals, companies should consider the types of liquids they have potential spills with, the volume and the frequency of use.

7) Decontaminate

The hot zone is where the contamination is occurring. The warm zone is where reduction occurs (where disposal containment such as bins, drums or totes are located). The cold zone is the area outside of the hot and warm zones. It is important to label and store the waste properly.

Tricks & Tools 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protects toxins from entering by inhalation, ingestion, absorption and injection. The use of some PPE is specialized and requires additional training. For example, respirators may be required when the surrounding air has been contaminated: ensuring that the respirators are correctly removing the contaminant of concern, or being worn properly, will depend on the product and the circumstances.

Labels Give Clues

Knowing how to read the SDSs, WHMIS labels and TDG labels is the first step in determining which PPE is required to work with chemicals. Only trained and authorized persons should attempt to interpret and engage in respirator-required clean-up.

Other PPE

Other typical protective equipment includes gloves, suits, face shields, boots and other work clothes fabrics. This can be polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nitrile, neoprene, tyvek, etc.

The fabric protection must be compatible with the chemical being handled.

Fire protection usually requires a third-party response team and is well outside of this introductory course.

PPE Training

When dealing with low-risk spills in-house, workers should be aware of PPE procedures and atmospheric hazards such as oxygen deficiencies, LELs, UELs, and confined spaces. Monitoring equipment should be calibrated and tested regularly.

Keep Updated

Spill response has Best Practice Measures (BPMs) that can always be reviewed and updated by way of containment, clean up, and restoration.

Purchasing drain covers and boom materials can save the waterways from contamination and costly and time-consuming recovery.

Reviewing areas of concerns with all personnel allows good house-keeping practices to keep problem areas maintained and functioning properly.

Yearly or quarterly reviews allow employees to convey concern to the responding team by requesting either improved training exercises, or more advanced spill kits.