Chemical spills can have devastating consequences for waterway pollution, causing ecosystem damage and risks to human health. Common chemical pollutants include agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, household cleaning products and chemicals used in industry. Chemical spills can easily get out of control if not managed properly, particularly if they enter waterways. As well as serious environmental consequences, the legal implications for your business can also be severe if you lose control of a spill.

We’ll take a look at why it’s vital to manage a chemical spill properly and how your company can implement effective procedures to do so.

Chemical spills in waterways can quickly get out of hand

A spill of any chemical substance on your site can quickly become polluting to water; and these pollution incidents can be extremely difficult to manage. The very nature of water makes it vulnerable to pollution from leaks or spills. Once pollution from hazardous substances such as oil, sewage or industrial chemicals has entered groundwater or surface water systems, the area of contamination can spread quickly, making it much harder to clean up effectively. A greater contamination area will also likely cause more environmental damage.

Water pollution that has entered waterways can cause grave risk to public health, environmental damage and destruction to wildlife. As well as these deadly environmental and human consequences, losing control of a chemical spill which causes waterway pollution will have negative impacts on your liabilities and business reputation. You may be held liable for any pollution incidents if you haven’t followed the correct compliance and management procedures.

Remaining in control of a chemical spill is essential for both the environment and your business.

How to make sure you manage a chemical spill incident effectively

In a spill situation, control throughout the entire process is all-important. The catastrophic consequences of chemical pollutants meeting waterways makes it essential to have effective spill control procedures in place across your whole site and business operation. Accidental spills are a fact of life for many workplaces, but controlled processes will ensure you’ll be able to assess, contain and respond to any incidents quickly.

The first step for any spill is to assess the situation. This will tell you what has been spilled and how best to contain it; plus any risks to staff and for waterway pollution. Containment is essential; giving you an early opportunity to limit any damaging effects from the spill. Well-maintained and easily accessible spill kits are vital for this, giving you the tools to absorb and control the spread of the chemical with the correct size kit supplied with the correct materials. You’ll also need to clean-up the spill properly, following any decontamination and disposal procedures.

While the process of managing a spill is important; it’s also critical that you reduce the chance of spills in the first place. Making sure your onsite practices are safe and compliant will limit spill incidents. Using spill-resistant containers, drip trays and having well planned procedures in place to move substances around your site will all reduce spills.

Control is essential for dealing with a spill effectively

Workplace spills have the potential to get out of control quickly, causing significant waterway pollution. By making sure you have strong response protocols, the correct spill kits and thorough training; you’ll be able to respond quickly to a spill incident. These procedures will confine and stop the source of the spill quickly, limiting any environmental exposure and your company liability.

Spillcraft offer a range of training courses designed to improve your incident response and procedures, including chemical spill response training. To discuss how we can help your workplace spill response training, email us today or call 01606 352 679.