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Spill containment is a critical consideration for facility managers. With the right prevention techniques and the right spill response, managers can ensure they remain safe and responsible while also meeting all applicable industry regulations and codes.

The CDC applies regulations and guidelines to a range of different controlled substances across many different locations and industry types. However, these regulations all boil down to the same fundamental principle — effective spill response and prevention is necessary for anyone handling hazardous materials.

What Is a Spill Containment Tray?

A spill containment tray is an important aspect of your facility’s spill response processes. While prevention and forward-thinking practices always represent the best policy — i.e., it is always better to eliminate the risk of a spill before it happens — these trays provide a valuable line of defense in the event a spillage does occur.

In basic terms, the spill tray is a form of secondary containment. Containers of hazardous materials are placed upon the tray, and then any spillages are captured by the tray’s structure. Effectively, the spill tray forms a barrier between any spilled hazardous material and the nearby environment.

This is critical for facility managers. These managers need to prevent wastage from spilled materials, and they are also responsible for ensuring that personnel, members of the public, and local ecosystems are all kept safe from harm. A positive spill response procedure can make sure that the facility remains compliant with all regulations across these criteria.

How to Use a Spill Containment Tray

How do you make sure that your spill containment tray is up to the job? How can facility managers guarantee the safety of their personnel and the local environment? This requires the right solutions and a thorough implementation process.

Assess Spill Containment Requirements

Different facilities — and different tasks within each facility — require their own specific spill containment solution. For example, if you are working with individual drums of a hazardous material, your spill containment tray will need to be small and portable, ready for deployment wherever it is required. On the other hand, if you are working with large tankers and other vehicles that need to be protected, you will need a larger, more heavy-duty containment tray.

Conduct an assessment of your spill containment requirements. You may need to deploy more than one solution side by side to ensure complete coverage and protection.

Choose the Right Spill Containment Tray for the Process

Once you have assessed the requirements of your facility, you will need to make sure you have the right spill containment tray for your needs. Consider the following:

  • How much space do you need to cover?
  • Will vehicles need to drive on and off the containment solution?
  • What sort of weight will the spill tray need to hold?
  • How will you store the spill tray?
  • How many team members will be handling the spill tray?

Answering these questions will give you the data you need to select your spill tray.

Deploying Your Spill Tray

The process for deploying your spill containment tray will depend on the type of tray you are using. Take a look at the deployment processes for some of the most commonly used types of trays.

Deploying a Nestable Spill Tray

A nestable spill tray is a rigid spill response solution and will generally come in two sections — the raised pallet tray and the stage upon which the materials will be placed. They are small and easy to store, as the raised pallet trays stack together with the spill stages stacked together on top of the pallet trays. Relatively lightweight, these spill solutions only require one or two personnel to deploy.

During deployment, the raised pallet tray is placed on the ground wherever containment is required. The spill stage is placed on top of the raised pallet and will nest within it. The solution is now ready, and drums of hazardous materials can be placed on top of the spill stage.

Deploying a Flexible Spill Tray

While a nestable spill tray is made of rigid plastic composite, the flexible spill tray is manufactured and deployed differently. This tray is made of a flexible plastic or rubber compound that will resist corrosion and prevent any spills from escaping into the nearby environment. Some flexible trays will have a rigid component, such as walls that snap into place along the side of the berm. Others will need to be inflated to create a barrier to trap any hazardous materials.

If you need to drive a vehicle, such as a tanker, onto the tray, you’ll first need to ensure that the containment solution is rated to allow this. You will also need to identify where the vehicle can drive on and off the tray — some trays will have specific entry points that are designed to be driven over by heavy-duty vehicles.

Deploying a Snap Up Spill Berm

A snap up berm will feature rigid sides that are “snapped” together and clipped into place, forming a temporary seal that will prevent hazardous materials from escaping in the event of spillage.

When disassembled, snap up spill berms can be stored flat, reducing the amount of space the solution takes up during storage. Snap up trays bridge the gap between small-scale nestable spill trays and larger-scale flexible solutions, and they are available in a range of different sizes and configurations.

Deploying a Throw-and-Go Spill Berm

Throw-and-Go spill berms are designed to be easy to deploy at short notice. If you do not have a large team of personnel that you can devote to deploying your spill berm, or if your needs can change quickly, this might represent the simplest option.

Despite the ease of deployment, Throw-and-Go spill berms are in fact available in a range of different sizes. Even if your needs are larger-scale and more heavy-duty, you may be able to find a Throw-and-Go option that can cater to this.

A Vital Role to Play at Facilities Nationwide

Facilities across various industries handle hazardous materials on a daily basis. Spill trays are critical in the defense against contamination or other potential catastrophes, helping facility teams stay safe and fully compliant across every process.