Chemical Spills and How to Respond to It
Hazardous materials are all over and we come in contact with them each day. A lot of tasks that we do from home cleaning to powering our cars use chemicals or hazardous materials. If care is not exercised in using these things, no matter how useful they are, they can be very dangerous too. If you know what measures to take in the accidental spill of chemicals, then you can save your own life and the life of others. Dealing with hazardous materials is not a thing to be taken for granted because the tiniest release can become a real big problem.
If gas is released it is most dangerous because we cannot see it. Saving your life and the life of others is possible if you have the right equipment and you know the right procedures to follow. There has to be an immediate action when hazardous gas, no matter how little, is released in the atmosphere. If you know accidental release measures, you need not panic because you can act decisively, immediately.
If your company has a hazard communication program, it is best to participate in it. Information will be shared with you regarding the understanding of the hazards of chemicals we work with, chemical labeling and the material safety data sheet or MSDS. It is good to familiarize yourself with the ‘Spill Guidelines’ of your facility. You can also ask your supervisor where you can get a copy of the ‘Emergency Response Plan.’
‘First Response Awareness Level’ is a good training for those workers who will be the first to respond because they are the ones who will likely be there when spills, leaks, or accidental release of hazardous materials occur. Reporting procedures to initiate emergency response must be part of the training of employees. There is a training for the first group of workers who actually respond to spills, called the ‘First Responder Operations Level’ training. This training for the first people on the scene is to enable them to secure and contain the issues.
The first responder goes to the scene and reviews it to determine the next step to do. The area may be evacuated, place barriers around the spill to prevent the contamination from spreading. Signs and caution tapes can be put up to warn others about the spill and prevent them from going in harm’s way.
The spill need to be contained next. The materials that have been specifically determined to use for the type of hazard that has been released should be used.
Sandbags absorb hazardous substances and should never be used to stop spills.
Supporting reference: helpful hints