No matter how rigid your safety procedures or how stringent your risk assessments are, an industrial workplace will always be in danger of a drum spill.
Leaks and spills on the factory or warehouse floor pose a serious hazard to employees, so it’s important that you have a drum spill containment procedure ready to implement at a moment’s notice.
In this article, the team at ITP Packaging explores the potential hazards of a drum spill, before explaining how to contain one.
What Are the Potential Hazards from a Drum Spill?
Effective drum spill containment is integral to the safe operation of a warehouse, construction site, storage area, and other industrial workplaces.
Without having drum spill containment measures in place, you put the health and safety of your workers at risk and could face legal action in the event of an accident. Potential hazards are increased when the contents of a drum are corrosive, dangerous or reactive.
The potential hazards posed by a drum spill are serious. Here are the hazards that could be caused by a drum spill:
- Damage to property or equipment
- Damage to electrics
- Pooling liquids that cause slippery surfaces
- Dangerous chemical reactions
- Fire hazards
- Chemical burns to workers
- Slips and falls
How to Safely Respond to a Drum Spill
In the event of an accident, it’s important that your team knows how to respond quickly and safely to a drum spill. You need to carry out a risk assessment and have a drum spill containment policy in place that details what needs to be done and by whom.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) details the steps and procedures needed in order to safely contain a drum spill. These include:
- On-site emergency plan: Details how a spill will be contained and controlled in order to prevent damage and injury to equipment, people and the environment.
- Emergency operating procedures: Instructs staff on how to respond in the event of a spill. This includes raising alarms, calling the authorities or emergency services, and containing the spill (if their training allows).
- Evacuation of the area: Details of how the area will be evacuated in the event of a spill, including escape routes and roll calls.
- Removal or neutralisation of spill: Ensures that neutralising substances are available to contain hazardous materials and details how spills are cleaned up and removed safely from the site.
In addition to the above procedures, you need to factor in other potentially hazardous elements such as firefighting. The extent of your emergency action plan and ability to respond to a spill also depends on how hazardous the substances being kept in the drums are. For example, you will need stricter policies and more extensive training to deal with a chemical spill as opposed to a water spill.
How to Limit the Risk of Drum Spills
Although it’s almost impossible to remove every risk in the workplace, there are a number of effective ways to limit the risk of drum spills and contain spills before they cause an accident. The most important thing to have in place is a drum spill containment policy, to ensure that staff know what to do in an emergency.
Here are the best ways to limit the risk of drum spills occurring in your workplace:
- Carry out a thorough risk assessment of the workplace, identifying any hazards that could cause a spill and eliminating them.
- Ensure staff are adequately trained and, where necessary, supervised to safely handle and move drums.
- Regularly check drums and equipment for faults, damage, and wear and tear.
- Use high-quality, UN-rated industrial packaging and equipment.
- Use drum trolleys to safely move barrels around by hand.
- Store drums on top of spill pallets in order to contain any spills and leaks.
- Provide staff with access to clean-up equipment and protective gear in the event of an accident.
- Ensure there is a stringent drum spill containment policy in place, and that staff know what to do in the event of a spill.
- Clean up all spills, no matter how minor, as soon as it is safe to do so.
Contact ITP Packaging for More Information on Drum Spill Containment
At ITP Packaging we’re experts in the field of industrial packaging, and our team can provide the advice and expertise you need to operate a health and safety-compliant workplace.
If you need more information on drum spill containment or need assistance sourcing the best industrial packaging products for your business, contact ITP Packaging today.