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Chemical Spills and How to Respond to It

Hazardous materials are all over and we come in contact with them each day. In our everyday tasks and chores, chemical or hazardous materials are used to help us and make our tasks easier. Care must be exercised when handling chemicals, otherwise they can harm us and those around us. Knowing how to handle the accidental release of chemicals can save lives. The tiniest chemical released in the air or spilled on the floor, can become a major issues, so do not take this issue lightly.

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. Even if the hazardous material released is just small, it still poses a dangerous situation and it must be dealt with immediately. 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. Your facility should also have a ‘Spill Guidelines’ which you should be familiar with. You can also ask your supervisor where you can get a copy of the ‘Emergency Response Plan.’

The training on ‘First Response Awareness Level’ must be given to all workers who are likely to witness a spill, leak, or other accidental release measures of a hazardous material. Reporting procedures to initiate emergency response must be part of the training of employees. The ‘First Responder Operations Level’ training is a training for the first group of workers who actually respond to spills. This training is for workers who are tasked to be the first on the scene so that they can secure and contain the issue.

When the first responder to a hazardous spill comes and looks at the issue, he then tries to determine what should be done next. 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.

You should never use sandbags to stop any spill because they are not made to absorb hazardous substances.