The Three Cs of Spill Control and the Best Reusable Spill Control Supplies
Oil spills are a common safety hazard in the manufacturing industry. Regardless of their size, oil spills can pose a large threat to both workers and the environment.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of spill control for workplace safety with a focus on the 3 Cs — Control, Contain, and Clean. We’ll dive into each of these steps and explore the best practices for implementing them. We’ll also provide you with our top spill control supplies and product suggestions and a bonus tip to help you level up your workplace safety.
What are the 3 Cs of Spill Control?
First, let’s review the three Cs of Spill Control. First, we have to “control” the spill, then “contain” it to keep it from spreading, and of course, “clean up”. Now, let’s look at each of these steps a little more in-depth.
While spill prevention is crucial, accidents still occur. That’s why it’s critically important to have a well-defined plan in place that allows workers to take immediate action to clean spills effectively when they happen.
Taking immediate action in response to a spill is crucial to minimize potential damage. The primary focus should be the safety of everyone in the vicinity. Additional hazards such as slippery surfaces or the presence of other hazardous substances should be identified. If necessary, secure the area and restrict access to prevent additional exposure.
Once the spill has been assessed and controlled, the next step is to prevent it from spreading. By containing the spill within the smallest possible area, we can ensure the safety of workers, minimize financial losses, and safeguard the environment.
Spills in manufacturing facilities can pose significant hazards to workers. Even a small oil spill or oil tracked on the bottom of work boots can result in slips and falls. It’s essential for workers to receive proper training in spill containment practices. This training equips them with the ability to recognize and address spills in a controlled manner.
The hazards of ineffective spill control procedures don’t stop at personal safety. Spills can also result in significant financial losses for manufacturing companies. Costs for environmental cleanup, fines for non-compliance, and reputational damage can all add up.
Furthermore, spills can also pose a significant risk to the environment. Effective spill control procedures should be put in place to help prevent oil from spreading and entering waterways and soil.
There are quite a few Spill Regulations for General Industry to protect the environment and support workplace safety. For example, the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule aims to minimize the occurrence of oil discharge into navigable waterways. And the Facility Response Plan (FRP) plan mandates that some facilities develop and submit a plan that outlines how they would respond in the event of a worst-case oil discharge.
Recommended Spill Containment Supplies:
SorbIts® Oil Absorbent SuperSocks™ are an excellent product for oil containment. These eco-friendly, reusable oil-absorbent socks are over three times more absorbent than leading brands of disposable socks and snakes. When placed strategically around a spill, they create a physical barrier that prevents the spill from spreading further. This reduces the risk of environmental contamination and minimizes the cleanup area. By containing and absorbing spills, oil-absorbent socks and snakes contribute to floor safety. If you need something that takes up less space, you can also opt for a thinner version, the FlatSocks™.
SorbIts® Oil Absorbent Quilted Pads are one of the most flexible products. These reusable, launderable absorbent oil pads typically absorb 2-3X more than disposable absorbent spill mats. They are perfect for use in and around machines right at the source of leaks.
SorbIts® SlipBusters® Oil Absorbent Floor Mats serve as an excellent solution to prevent work boots from tracking oil. Designed specifically to address this issue, SlipBusters® oil absorbent floor mats not only effectively absorb oil but also significantly reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls. These mats have an oil-absorbent cotton pile that is particularly useful when placed on walk paths and in front of machinery areas, where leaks are likely to occur. In addition, the unique nitrile rubber base has 100% surface contact (no rubber cleats) to prevent fluid from seeping under.
After the spill has been assessed and contained as much as possible, it’s time for the last of the 3 Cs of spill control — clean-up. Depending on the nature of the spill, clean-up can look vastly different on a case-by-case basis.
Because there’s so much variability, it’s important to follow all local and federal safety protocols and environmental guidelines to keep workers and our natural environment safe. Along with following all safety protocols and proper disposal guidelines, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and appropriate clothing is crucial to safeguard yourself against hazards.
During the clean-up process, it is essential to properly dispose of soiled single-use absorbents according to local regulations and guidelines to prevent further harm to the ecosystem. If you’re using SorbIts® reusable, laundered absorbents, soiled absorbents should be placed in their respective bin for collection.
Recommended Spill Clean-Up Supplies:
SorbIts® Oil Spill Wet Mops are professional-grade wet mops that are laundered, reused, and delivered clean, making them environmentally friendly. They’re designed with antimicrobial fibers and can absorb 5-6x their weight in moisture, making them highly efficient in capturing and containing spilled oil.
SorbIts® Oil Absorbent Spill Kits help keep your plant ready for spills. They can be used for a multitude of different industrial process fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, metalworking fluids, coolant, and hydraulic fluid. Each kit comes with a yellow seal for easy tracking along with reusable, laundered oil-absorbent socks and pillows that are 2-3x more absorbent than other leading disposable absorbent products. Make sure you have the right spill kit and spill kit contents for each spill hazard.
ITU AbsorbTech’s Fully Managed Program might be something you didn’t even know you could take advantage of. We know it can be a lot to keep track of disposable absorbents, changes in your inventory needs, and changing costs, all on top of making sure your employees are safe. That’s why we created a fully managed, reusable, laundered absorbent program. It includes pick-up, laundering, and delivery of fresh, ready-to-go absorbents so you never have to worry about running out when you need them.
We know there are technically only three Cs of spill control, but if there were a fourth it would undoubtedly be “communication.” Given the daily occurrence of spills and leaks, influenced by numerous factors, businesses — especially those operating in industrial settings — must also prioritize communication.
It is vital when it comes to keeping any workplace safe. Effective verbal and visual communication should be present throughout the entire spill control process to keep people in the loop, comply with government and safety regulations, and clearly label helpful areas.
Verbal communication allows coworkers to quickly alert each other about spills, enabling a prompt response. When a spill occurs, notifying nearby coworkers can ensure that the spill is addressed immediately, minimizing the risk of accidents or further damage.
Visual communication through proper labeling of stations and equipment promotes standardization in your plant’s spill control procedures. When everyone in the workplace understands and follows a consistent set of protocols, it becomes easier to communicate and ensures that the appropriate response measures are taken. This consistency reduces confusion, enhances efficiency, and improves overall safety.
Not only is communication necessary between coworkers but it’s also required by the Facility Response Plan (FRP) established by the EPA that a qualified individual must be identified. This person will be the go-to when it comes to communication. Whether they need to notify response personnel, assess possible hazards, or be able to direct cleanup activities.
To comply with further regulations stated by OSHA, facilities should have staff that are fully trained in fall protection which includes the identification and mitigation of potential risks (like oil spills). Regularly conduct training sessions to educate employees about spill control protocols and emphasize the importance of immediate reporting.
When addressing spill control and safety, it is essential to revisit the fundamentals: control, contain, and clean up. By adhering to these basic principles and integrating them into your spill control protocols, you can minimize oil spill safety risks and promote a safer work environment.
By providing proper employee training and emphasizing the importance of communication, your organization can confidently move forward, guided by the principle of going #Back2Basics.