The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) regulate safety at work in all areas. And when it comes to OHSA regulations on spill containment these are far-reaching and extensive both in the prevention of spills and in how you should deal with them should they occur.
The OSHA regulations on hazardous materials require that all companies and operators should look at all aspects of working in this dangerous area and how to react to accidents. There are nine basic sections that relate to the safety, training, and disposal of hazardous materials. You can find out about these in more detail via the leaflet on Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response.
These points include:
- An occupational safety and health program needs to be implemented for every hazardous site and overseen by a designated site co-coordinator or employers representative.
- Hands on training for all employees.
- Decontamination procedures.
- The appropriate safety and protective equipment.
- A comprehensive site control plan so that if there is an emergency everyone knows what to do.
- Medical surveillance plans so that workers who work with hazardous materials are monitored.
- An effective spill containment program.
- Incident command system so that if there is an emergency, it is reported to the emergency services in a designated chain of command by the appropriate person.
- Keeping up with the latest technologies and improvements in the industry.
There are various OHSA Spill Kit Requirements depending upon the different types of the worksite. However, the universal spill kit is a general kit that covers many workplaces and is suitable for oil and water-based spills plus other basic chemical substances. The spill kit should include safety goggles, gloves, absorbent pads, disposal bags, and a handbook for handling chemicals.
For an industry that works with specific hazardous materials, such as the petrochemical industry, further safety procedures should be implemented that conform to EPA SPCC guidance (the environmental protection agency’s spill prevention control countermeasure regulations).
These types of measures include secondary containment measures such as spillage pallets or the construction of spill containment berms where any spillages can be stored safely without entering into the water system or posing an environmental threat.
There are numerous OHSA Spill Kit requirements that should also be implemented in your day to day operation.
Plastic spill containment trays should be positioned under drum faucets or any leakages to prevent contamination. Large funnels should always be used when transferring liquids into drums and drums stored outside should always be covered to ensure greater protection.
Other measures include close surveillance of the integrity of storage drums as well as keeping the area a restricted environment and only accessible to necessary workers.
So how would you respond to a hazardous waste spill by using OHSA standards and regulations?
Your company should have an emergency procedure in place and all workers should be familiar with the designated OHSA response plan. This is an important part of staff training so that if an accident of any scale occurs, everybody knows how to handle a chemical spill OSHA guidelines in place, as well as when to call in the emergency responders or the EPA.