What to Do When There is a Chemical Spill
Hazardous materials are all over and we come in contact with them each day. They can be used to help us in many tasks from home cleaning to powering our cars. If care is not exercised in using these things, no matter how useful they are, they can be very dangerous too. Knowing how to handle the accidental release of chemicals can save lives. Dealing with hazardous materials is not a thing to be taken for granted because the tiniest release can become a real big problem.
Because gas is unseen, its release in the air around us can become very dangerous. You can save your life and the life of those around you if you have the right equipment and if you know what you should do. 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 your company has a hazard communication program, it is best to participate in it. In this program you will be learning about chemicals and how dangerous they are, chemical labeling and MSDS or materials safety data sheet. Your facility should also have a ‘Spill Guidelines’ which you should be familiar with. It is good to have a copy of ‘Emergency Response Plan’ which you can ask from your supervisor.
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. Securing and containing the spilled chemicals is the task of the first people on the scene, and this training is particularly for them.
An operations level first responder will go to the scene and review it so as to determine the next best step, when a hazardous spill occurs. The area may be evacuated, place barriers around the spill to prevent the contamination from spreading. Then they can put up signs or caution tapes so that workers will know that there was a spill, so they can stay away from danger.
The spill need to be contained. 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.