The ability and preparedness of any organisation to respond to any mishap at the site can prove to be a key aspect in defining productivity levels.
In our last blog, while we did speak about workplace hazards and workers’ safety equipment, we realised that there are a few more risk factors that businesses need to be aware of, in order to maintain a protective and effective work environment at industrial sites.
In this article, we put focus on spill control as an area of operation that plays a major role for the safety and protection of employees, the industrial site, and the surrounding water bodies.
Spill control itself is a vast field that covers many risk factors. From human exposure to hazardous chemicals, from liquid leaks on work floor to oil/chemical spill on water bodies, and so on. All these require proper control and specific safeguarding equipment. We cover some of them in this article.
The term oil spill a form of pollution which essentially means a release of liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially into large water bodies.
Controlling such spills is a difficult task especially when the oil gets spread over a huge portion of water bodies or coastlines. It can take months to get control when the oil spills in such cases.
These oil spills also pose risk of an immediate fire hazard, and can lead to heavy air pollution and even risk of life. Thus, it is important for industries that deal with oil storage or transportation, to make sure all the oil containers/pipelines are highly secured and leak proof. They should also install spill detectors around the storage units so that the spills can be controlled as early as possible.
Environmental Effects of Oil Spills into Water Bodies
The oil spills can quickly spread onto a very large portion of water bodies. It can contaminate drinking water and can affect human and animal lives.
These hazards also become threat to sea creatures’ and birds’ lives. The viscous liquid floating over water destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals and water repellency of birds’ feathers. When birds or any other animals get exposed to such harsh elements, they lose their ability to repel water or insulate themselves from cold water. Eventually they die of hypothermia.
How to Recover from Oil Spills
Recovery from oil spills and its cleanup can be a herculean job, especially when oil spreads over a vast coastline. The recovery also depends on many factors, such as the type of oil spilled, temperature of the water, and types of the beaches involved etc.
These are a few commonly used methods for cleanup and recovery of oil spills:
Bioremediation. It is a waste management technique used to remove or neutralize pollutants at the contaminated site. In case of oil spills, microorganisms or biological agents are sprayed over the affected area. These organisms break down or remove the oil floating over water.
Controlled Burning. This is a slightly risky method, and if not managed carefully, can turn into a fire hazard. It is also important to use this method during low wind conditions.
Absorbent Booms. These are large floating barriers that can control, contain and cleanup oil and fuel spills. These booms are available with many unique specifications and can absorb approx 20 – 30 times more oil than their own weight.
Skimmers. These are the machines to skim or separate the floating oil from water.
There are more equipment that help in removing, separating and absorbing the oil spilled on water, including, vacuum, sorbents, chemical and biological agents and more. Check out ProjectLink’s comprehensive list for high quality spill control and management equipment and their suppliers in Australia.
Oil Spills at Industrial Sites
Oil and fuel spills are common accidents, and can take place while transporting, dispensing and storing oil in industrial and mining operations. The seemingly small threats in the form of leak, drip, or spill can turn into major accidents, such as fire hazards, slipping etc., if not controlled and managed on time.
To manage such situations promptly, companies must always be prepared with quality equipment for oil spill control. These equipment are capable of absorbing and controlling any oil leak, drip, or spill. You can also detect any leak with the help of hi-tech spill control systems, which can alert the management in quick time and minimise the risk.
Industrial sites that store, transport or use chemicals for any other purpose, need to take precautionary measures for spill control. These chemicals can be flammables, corrosives, solvents, explosives, or combustibles.
More often than not these chemicals are highly hazardous and can cause life risks. Thus, it is high significance to have spill control equipment around these industrial sites. For instance, an eyewash station can help if someone get exposed to hazardous chemicals, or spill control kits can help in absorbing such chemicals in case of accidental leaks.
It is also essential that all the employees who work near these harmful substances, should be trained to deal with any potential hazard.
There are a few methods that business owners can use for spill control and management:
Keep the Hazardous Chemicals in Covered Area
Make sure all the hazardous chemicals are stored in a covered area and protected against rainfall. If not stored properly, these chemicals can mix with rainwater and can further contaminate the workplace.
Generally, after getting mixes with water, these chemicals get diluted and hence weaker in their impact. However one can never brush off the importance of finding out the leak and taking appropriate actions as quickly as possible.
Labeling Hazardous Chemicals and Instruction Signs
Labelling all the hazardous chemicals with their respected kinds, such as flammable, combustibles, solvents, explosives etc. reduces the risk at work stations. Mere awareness created by proper labelling can help avoid major potential accidents that can because by such chemicals.
Proper use of instruction signage is another important measure that can be taken to reduce the risk emerging out of storage and use of hazardous chemicals. These signages instruct workers about the Dos and Don’ts of working with such substances. Signages can be a great help in preventing accidental spills and improving cleanup response, if any accidents take place.
The employers also need to make sure the site is well equipped to respond and control any kind spills. There are many spill control kits available in Australian market with different absorbing capacities and technologies. Businesses thus have the advantage of picking the right spill control equipment according to their unique requirements.
To make this search easy and effortless, ProjectLink has listed out various options of high quality spill control and management equipment, and their leading suppliers in Australia.