What to Do When There is a Chemical Spill
Each day of our lives we can possibly come in contact with hazardous materials. They can be used to help us in many tasks from home cleaning to powering our cars. But if you do not exercise care, these useful things can be very dangerous than they need to be. Knowing how to handle the accidental release of chemicals can save lives. You should never take hazardous materials lightly because even if there is just a tiny release in the air, it can become a major issue.
Because gas is unseen, its release in the air around us can become very dangerous. 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 there is an offering in your company of a hazard communication program, then you should join in to prepare yourself. 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. There is also a ‘Spill Guidelines’ which you can familiarize yourself with, for 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. It is important for employees to know reporting procedures to initiate emergency response. There is a training for the first group of workers who actually respond to spills, called the ‘First Responder Operations Level’ training. Securing and containing the spilled chemicals is the task of the first people on the scene, and this training is particularly for them.
The first responders are the ones who examine the situation and determine the next step to take. The decision could be to evacuate the place, set barriers around the spill so that spreading of the contamination will be prevented. 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. Workers should use the equipment designated for that particular hazard type that has been released.
Sandbags absorb hazardous substances and should never be used to stop spills.