Spills can and do happen. How well accidents are planned before they occur, how well they are handled during and after a spill, is very important to avoid injuries in the workplace and maintain the welfare of employees.
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OSHA requires all workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals to have a written spill management plan. The written plan should address each employee's activities at work and their potential for exposure to hazardous chemicals.
A plan can be made for a workplace with 10 employees with 1 or 2 chemicals or for a factory with hundreds of employees with a variety of hazardous chemicals. The basics of the plan are the same – the goals are the same; to minimize injury, damage, downtime and penalties under OSHA.
Some of the causes of spills are:
Improper handling of chemicals in a warehouse, laboratory, or workplace
Chemical containers are drilled with a forklift truck
The lid doesn't close tightly
Improper storage method
Planning ways to deal with chemical spills is important to protect employees and prevent them from being released into the environment, fire, or other forms of property damage. The first steps in developing a plan are:
Identify all chemicals used.
Identify employees who are responsible for various aspects of the program.
Perform a risk assessment for each chemical used.
List the hazardous chemicals and receive a safety data sheet for each.
Label chemicals with associated health and safety risks (flammability, corrosiveness, etc.).
Develop a plan for controlling and cleaning up chemical spills.