Avoiding an Environmental Catastrophe
What do industries such as manufacturing, construction and mining have in common? Their reliance on heavy machinery to get the job done! And when you’re dealing with heavy machinery, there are associated risks such as burst hoses, leaks and spills which could result in accidents, damage and environmental harm.
Thankfully, these risks can be minimised by having appropriate spill response and hazardous storage practices in place. In this article we’ve created a checklist of four key spill control areas which are critical if you’re working with heavy machinery. Find out how each of them can play a part in creating a safer workplace and help you avoid an environmental catastrophe.
1. The importance of spill kits
Simply put, if you store hazardous liquids onsite, you need a spill kit. Spill kits contain everything you’ll need to deal with an emergency liquid spill including absorbents, PPE and contaminated waste disposal tools. For best results place your spill kits in high-risk areas, such as fuelling stations and maintenance areas. Easy access can significantly reduce the time and effort required to contain and clean up spills. Remember, the longer you leave a spill the more it is likely to spread and become harder to contain.
2. How absorbents play a supporting role
If you’re dealing with hazardous liquids such as fuels and oils, chances are you already have a selection of absorbent products on hand. Items such as absorbent pads and rolls are great for protecting work areas against grease and grime, or to absorb spills. We offer a range of standard and heavyweight absorbent rolls, available with wall and floor mount dispensers for convenience.
Many workshops also use rags or industrial wipes as part of their daily operations. Preferences between the two can be divisive. At Stratex we offer both, and have found that in most cases wipes provide superior and consistent performance for both wiping and absorbency. You can find out more in our comparison article Are Wipes or Rags Better?
3. Issues relating to hazardous liquid storage
Many environmental regulators are targeting facilities with unbunded hazardous liquid containers and issuing notices to mandate the use of bunding. The reason is simple – 44-gallon drums or 1000 litre intermediate bulk containers could cause significant environmental damage if these were to accidentally spill or fail catastrophically. Bunding can provide great peace of mind, potentially saving thousands in clean-up costs and fines.
Leaking and burst hydraulic lines are a common issue for heavy machinery. Portable containment bunding can be deployed in seconds to contain spraying liquid. If the leak is less severe, an EnviroPad spill mat can be placed under the leak to prevent hydrocarbon pollution.
If your workplace uses smaller quantities of dangerous goods such as flammable liquids and aerosols, these should be stored in Australian Standard compliant hazardous storage cabinets. Most dangerous goods with different classes are incompatible and must never be stored together – failure to so could result in deadly consequences.
4. Why staff training is essential
The final piece of the puzzle are staff who are well trained in how to deal with a spill emergency. Employees should know how to use spill kits, understand safe storage protocols and duty of care obligations under relevant legislation. Remember that a spill kit can only be as effective as the knowledge of the person using it.
In summary, when you’re working in and around heavy machinery effective spill prevention and control is essential to minimise the risk of environmental harm, accidents, and equipment damage. The best way to protect your organisation is to have appropriate controls such as spill kits, absorbents, hazardous liquid storage and staff training. Stratex is a specialist in spill prevention and control, to find out how we could help your organisation contact us today.