5 Lessons Learned: Resources

First Response to Chemical Spills

There is hazardous materials we come in contact with everyday. They can be used to help us in many tasks from home cleaning to powering our cars. If care is not exercised in using these things, no matter how useful they are, they can be very dangerous too. If you know the measures to take when there are accidental releases of these harmful materials, it could spell the difference between life and death. You should never take hazardous materials lightly because even if there is just a tiny release in the air, it can become a major issue.

Harmful gas released in the air can be most dangerous because it is unseen. You can save your life and the life of those around you if you have the right equipment and if you know what you should do. A release of hazardous material, no matter how small, is a potentially dangerous situation and must be dealt with the soonest possible time and with efficiency. Knowing the measures in dealing with accidental chemical releases can keep you at ease and enable you to act decisively at once.

If there is an offering in your company of a hazard communication program, then you should join in to prepare yourself. You can get all the information that you need so that you can understand the hazards of the chemicals you work with, chemical labeling and the material safety data sheet (MSDS). It is good to familiarize yourself with the ‘Spill Guidelines’ of your facility. You can also ask your supervisor where you can get a copy of the ‘Emergency Response Plan.’

The training on ‘First Response Awareness Level’ must be given to all workers who are likely to witness a spill, leak, or other accidental release measures of a hazardous material. The employees must be trained on reporting procedures to use to initiate emergency response. The “First Responder Operations Level’ is a training for the first group of workers who actually respond to spills. This training for the first people on the scene is to enable them to secure and contain the issues.

An operations level first responder will go to the scene and review it so as to determine the next best step, when a hazardous spill occurs. The decision could be to evacuate the place, set barriers around the spill so that spreading of the contamination will be prevented. To prevent other workers from the danger, signs and caution tapes can be set up so that it will be known to all that there was a chemical spill.

The spill need to be contained. The materials that have been specifically determined to use for the type of hazard that has been released should be used.

Sandbags absorb hazardous substances and should never be used to stop spills.

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