Any workplace spill, whether it’s based on chemicals or oil, needs to be instantly tackled effectively by the staff and professionals on site. Not only does failure in this area potentially lead to putting your staff in immediate danger, as well as potentially failing key compliance regulations, but it can also lead to long-term environmental damage. This is why it’s important to understand some of the modern advancements that are being made to keep spills efficiently contained.
One common trend that is a wise one for just about any form of containment or risk management, is trying to use technology to think ahead. This means installing preventative measures to contain spills just in case they happen, rather than trying to deploy them after something has already taken place. A good example of this is temporary or permanent berms or barriers. Some facilities put these around their machines in fluid processing areas to have an automatic way to contain spills. By using these over absorbents, the spilled materials are easier to collect and recycle.
With this said, this doesn’t mean that absorbents are completely going out of style. In some cases, it’s a matter of improving them rather than trying to replace them. For example, several workplace regulations are putting a tighter hold on silica exposure in certain facilities. This means that there’s a growing need and interest for replacing typical clay-based absorbents with natural materials. One potentially surprising asset that may be good for this purpose is coconut coir.
Why coir? Tests show that it is eight times more absorbent by weight than traditional clay options, and doesn’t have any silica content at all. This means that if you need silica in other areas, you can use it without worrying about putting your staff at risk.
In some cases, you may be able to actually construct certain areas with spill containment in mind, like using strategic implementation of slopes. Many people creating new facilities may grade an area to help channel certain liquids to a key location. This makes it easier for spill material to all go to one area, where it can be collected or disposed of as needed. This applies to outdoor systems as well. Many sloped outdoor areas can install filtration items to help remove contaminants from stormwater, minimizing potential pollution. Naturally, though, this is more difficult to implement in established structures.
While the factors that can lead to a chemical spill, and the chemicals themselves, may change, the precautions that facility managers need to make doesn’t change much. It’s essential to have both a list of solid practices and effective detection and management technology in order to keep your facility and staff safe. Ideally, you want to get said technology from a company that is both an expert in the industry, but also has the knowledge to stay ahead of trends in safety and compliance. Chemtech International is the perfect match. Chemtech is a family-run business with 30 years of experience helping companies around the world with environmental compliance.