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November 01, 2022
Expert Tip: Responding to indoor spills

Before attempting to handle a spill, you need to make sure you are wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for your safety. For example, corrosive chemicals will burn your skin on contact, and handling them will require chemical-resistant gloves, a hazmat suit, protective boots, and a face shield to protect against splashes. Always check the safety data sheet (SDS) for the chemical you are working with, once identified, to see what the PPE requirements are for handling it.

Liquid Spills

  • Once your PPE is donned, you will need absorbent materials to soak up the spill. If the spill is in danger of spreading, you will first need to place an absorbent boom around the edges of the spill to contain it.
  • Once the spill is contained, you can place safety cones and/or other barricades around the spill area to keep passersby from getting too close.
  • Put down absorbent mats and/or loose absorbent materials like vermiculite to soak up the spill. Make sure the absorbents have sufficient time to soak up the spill before attempting to gather and dispose of them, but also make sure you don’t forget to come back and finish the cleanup!
  • Place contaminated absorbents in bags or other appropriate disposal containers, and properly characterize the waste.

Solid Spills

  • Spills of solid materials should be cleaned up using tools like a shovel or dustpan and broom. As with liquid spills, the waste must be placed in a proper disposal container, characterized, and then managed accordingly
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