How to handle chemical, paint and grease overflow spills in factories, retail outlets and schools
Spillage isn’t limited to one type of business, it occurs across multiple industries. Factories, schools, even your local take away shop can be affected. If there was a spill in your workplace, what would your response be?
Here are some of the most common spill types with appropriate recommendations to handle the risk, contain the mess and remove left over stains and bi-product.
Hazardous Chemical Spill
Hazardous chemicals are more than just a mess, they’re a health hazard to all inhabitants. Simply being in close proximity can cause irritation to the respiratory system, skin and eyes. These spills may leave behind a slippery hazard and be highly flammable.
No matter how careful your employees are, a hazardous chemical spill is likely to occur at some point. For this reason it’s critical that all employees know what to do, whether it’s to handle the spill themselves or to alert the person who is allocated to perform this role. While not all staff require training in handling chemical spills, ensure that there will always be a number of staff who are trained in this area, such as managers and supervisors. Such spills can’t be left till the end of shift for the cleaners!
Hazchem spill kits should be placed in strategic points throughout your facility, to ensure availability wherever a spill occurs. Like a fire extinguisher or emergency exit, these kits should be clearly signed and free from obstruction. An employee must be responsible for ensuring kits are cleaned, repacked and restocked after use.
Another key component of your hazardous chemical procedure should be the safe disposal of chemical waste. Improper disposal can harm the environment and waste collection workers, and could breach Australian standards. A bin should be allocated for the removal of chemical waste, where it should then be removed by a chemical waste company or destroyed via an onsite chemical waste incinerator. A surface restoration specialist can then be contacted to remove any remaining stains and harmful bi-product.
Paint spills often occur on building sites, hardware retailers, schools and from paint tins falling off trucks. It’s important to prevent spreading and prevent the paint from drying out and going hard. When the paint is dry it becomes a much more time consuming process to remove the paint and restore the surface underneath.
Another potential problem, particularly when outside, is the wet paint running into storm water drains. This ends up in waterways, causing harm to marine wildlife, and can land you in trouble with the EPA.
If paint spills are a common risk in your line of work, it’s ideal to keep a large amount of sand, sawdust or kitty litter close by. These materials are highly absorbent and will reduce spreading and make the cleanup easier. Remember to start from the outer edge to reduce spreading by controlling the perimeter.
To enable the surface to be completely restored, it’s best to call a surface restoration technician to remove the paint before it dries. Unfortunately high pressure cleaning isn’t enough to remove paint stains and often results further spreading of the paint spill.
The most effective way to handle a paint spill is to use a series of cleaning solutions to break down the molecular bond and release it from the surface. Once this process has occurred a high pressure cleaner can then be used to ensure the area is clean and free from contamination. A vacuum recovery system should be used to collect all water, ensuring there is no harm to the environment.
Read more about Paint Spill Removal.
Like a paint spill, we recommend keeping a ready supply of absorbent materials such as sand, kitty litter or sawdust to apply to any spills to reduce absorption. Oil is even more stubborn than paint to remove as it penetrates deep into the masonry surfaces. It’s flammable, smelly and slippery when wet. For these reasons it’s best to remove the stain as soon as it appears. We are often contacted by workshop and factory managers who have neglected years of oil spill stains, only to panic when it’s time to move out and hand back the keys to the owner.
Read more about Oil Spill Removal.
Grease spills commonly occur when a commercial kitchen’s grease trap overflows. Apart from leaving a slippery hazard, they pose numerous health and environmental risks. Those with commercial kitchens understand the ramifications for not meeting health and safety regulations!
It may be tempting to grab the hose and spray the grease down the floor drainage pipes. Employees should be discouraged from doing this as the grease will harden in the pipes and block your drainage.
In fact spraying with a hose or mopping up with your regular floor cleaning products should be avoided altogether. This can create a thick layer on top of the surface which then becomes further spread out. Cover the area with sand, saw dust or kitty litter and contact a surface restoration technician to responsibly dispose of the mess and remove the grease stain and smell.
Find out more about Grease Spill Removal.
The Graffiti Eaters and The Stain Eaters are the first point of call for businesses who require urgent spill response. Our surface restoration vehicles carry 26 different cleaning formulations, as well as high pressure cleaners, boiler units and vacuum recovery systems to ensure we can completely remove the spill and the stain.
Our spill response procedures meet international ISO standards (we receive annual independent auditing). For your peace of mind, our technicians are qualified to perform traffic and pedestrian management when necessary and can organise EPA certificates and OH&S documentation.