An Effective Oil Spill Clean Up Procedure

Oil spills are dangerous to the health of people and to the environment. The hazards include fumes, ignitions, asphyxiation, burns, water contamination, soil contamination and fire. In case of an oil spill make sure you know what to do. Immediate measures can help the oil spill from spreading. Be sure to have the presence of mind and follow this easy and effective oil spill clean up procedure.

Emergencies can be a confusing time. So to make it easier for you, just remember the 3 C’s of handling any accidental spills. These are control, contain, and clean up. Controlling the situation is to stop the cause or source of oil or slowing down the rate of release of oil. Containing the oil spill is minimizing the damage of the oil by preventing the spill from spreading to other areas. Clean up is the removal of the contaminants or oil itself from the affected area. The proper disposal of the materials used in the removal of the contamination is the final step in any clean up.

Objective: To effectively deal with spill accidents in order to prevent the adverse effects on the environment and on the individuals cleaning-up the contents of the spill.

Materials needed include:

-Stand by fire extinguishers
-Safety goggles
-Safety suit
-Safety mask
-Closed footwear
-Oil spill containment booms or socks.
-Absorbent pads or rolls

Procedures are as follows:

I. Oil Spill Control

1) Immediately take control of the situation.
2) If possible, stop the source of the leakage. It can be done by turning off a valve immediately or turning the container upright.
3) Search for causes of ignition. Put out any flames or turn off any machines that are working
4) Wear proper safety gear. Fumes can be inhaled, so make sure that your whole body is well protected.
5) Inform management immediately. If possible look for your supervisor. Ask for help.

II. Oil Spill Containment

1) If the oil or chemicals are near any type of drainage be sure to seal those first.
2) Surround the oil spill with oil spill booms or socks. Enclose the area of contamination.
3) Make sure that you have secured all exit points for the spillage.

III. Oil Spill Clean Up

1) Place the absorbent pads, pillows or rolls directly on the liquid.
2) Scatter the absorbent pads or rolls in the different areas to aid in the clean up.
3) Continue placing and replacing absorbent pads until the last drop of liquid is absorbed.
4) Get ready with your plastic bags for the soiled absorbents.
5) Place all the soiled absorbent pads inside the plastic bag.
6) Re-bag soiled absorbents to prevent leakage.
7) Then once all the absorbent pads are picked up, place the absorbent booms or socks inside the plastic bags.
8) Once you have finished with bagging everything place the bags inside a drum or a single container.
9) Label or tag the container.
10) Contact immediately your waste handler for proper disposal.

Do not hesitate to contact your local Fire Department if you have a large spill. Almost all Fire Departments are trained to help control and cleaning up all types of spills. Depending upon the location and size of the spill you may be required by law to report it to State and or Federal EPA officials. 

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