What Is a Spill Kit? Who Needs Them?

Spill kits are essential items to have easily on hand. Here’s why.

Have you ever wondered what a spill kit is and what purpose it serves?  Just as the name suggests, a spill kit is an all-in-one container that is designed to handle spills in a work environment.  Not all spill kits are created equal; in fact, there are specific spill kits for the type of cleanup required.  Here’s the lowdown on spill kits, who needs them, and why.

Perhaps the most common spill kit is a general, or all-purpose spill kit.  This kit is designed to handle non-hazardous liquid spills, such as coolants, water, solvents, and antifreeze.

Marine spill kits, also known as oil and fuel kits, are specific to oil spills.  These kits handle grease and other forms of oil-based liquids, as they are designed to repel water.

For medical waste or hazardous waste, there is the hazmat spill kit.  Of course, not all hazardous waste is medical waste. For manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities, a typical hazmat spill kit can handle hydrocarbons and other hazardous chemicals like highly corrosive acids and solvents.

Biohazardous waste requires a different kind of hazmat spill kit. Usually a biohazard spill is comprised of bodily fluids (think: blood, vomit, feces, and urine) from animals and/or humans.  These kits contain all materials necessary for containing the spill, removing and disposing of spilled body fluids, and quickly cleaning and disinfecting the spill site. It should also come with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Guidelines.  A biohazardous spill kit should include personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, gloves, face masks, protective aprons, solidifying agents, proper identification tags, red bags, instructions, disinfectants, and tools to pick up solidified waste.

Spill kits are a necessity, as they are designed to help you comply with pollution guidelines, as well as other workplace regulations including health and safety per OSHA.

Spill kit contents have been designed for containing and properly cleaning up spills while keeping staff and nearby persons safe.  Just like any other type of equipment in healthcare facilities and organizations that deal with medical waste, it should be a priority to familiarize yourself with all the tools and items included in a spill kit. Safety is paramount, especially in environments that are risky, such as where hazardous materials are in use.

Red Bags can help you understand the ins and outs of spill kits and their usage through our OSHA compliance training program.  Whether it’s a potential oil spill, chemical spill, or a biohazardous spill, making sure you have the appropriate spill kit, or several types of spill kits, will help protect your business, your employees, and your visitors.

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