Spill control safety in the industrial workplace and knowledge of containing and clean up of a chemical spill is extremely important. Hazardous chemicals should always be housed in spill control drums. When chemicals are stored, move them on spill control pallets to further protect from leaks or spills if the container does leak. Cleaning up after a spill is an immediate necessity since they create a hazard in one way or another. Sometimes it may be a slip and fall hazard for employees, sometimes a more serious hazard to people, animals and other living things. A sorbent is a material used to absorb liquids or gases. Sorbents have a large internal surface area, allowing them to absorb more liquid than its weight. Sorbents also have good thermal conductivity, and are typically supplied in small pellets or grains. Certain types of sorbents are used for particular liquids. For example, some sorbents are only absorbent of oil or petroleum based fluids. Other sorbents may be more universal and offer absorbency of water, petroleum or chemical based fluids. Sorbents also come in the form of pads, mats, rolls or booms. Pads, rolls and mats are good for small leaks or widespread spills, whereas booms come in especially handy when dealing with fast spreading spills. Pads, mats, rolls and boom sorbents come in a variety of absorbency's.
Workers need to have access to all spill control information and should also be given spill control training. They should always know where spill control kits and absorbents can be found at all times in case of a spill. There should always be plenty of spill control absorbents on the job with easy and quick access for all workers. There are different types of spill control absorbents for spill control protection. Some may be put down prior to a spill for extra safety, some are in the form of mats or rolls that absorb specific chemicals in the workplace, and some spill control absorbents are loose and used for fuel spills, organic chemical spills, paints and more. For workers who are traveling or not necessarily in a specific workplace, spill control sorbents kits are available for them employee to take with them on the go.
In the case of slow leaking equipment, consider wrapping a boom around the leak to contain the contaminant. Grain or pellet sorbents are also known to absorb viscous material spills, but also odors and can be easily swept up in preparation for disposal. Many of the mat or roll sorbents are also easily handled in preparation for disposal. When using sorbents for clean up, contact your local waste management for legal guidelines and information on disposal. Once a sorbent has absorbed a liquid and is now a solid waste, they may still be considered a hazardous material and must be disposed of properly. Always wear protective clothing such as footwear, eye wear, gloves and if necessary, a respirator for protection when cleaning up or working with hazardous materials.