Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in Spill Kits

Published : 13 Apr, 2017

Absorb Environmental Solutions has supplied PPE for spill kits for 20 years. In addition, we include the need to use PPE during spill clean up in all our spill response training courses.

However we do not provide PPE in our wheelie bin spill kits unless we know what liquids the kit is intended to deal with. The fundamental requirement is to ensure that the PPE available meets the requirements of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the specific liquid that has been spilt.

The example we use during spill response training is Diesel.  When we check the SDS for Diesel we find that the recommended PPE for spill clean up is:

  • Impervious Footwear – Gumboots or Tyvek Overboots.
  • Impervious Overalls – Tyvek disposable overalls or similar.
  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Safety Goggles or Face shield
  • Half Face Respirator with appropriate absorbent cartridges – if work area is not well ventilated.

We often think that this list is a bit excessive for something as common as diesel however we need to remember that 1.  The SDS is written for the worst case scenario. 2. Diesel is a carcinogen that can be absorbed through the skin. So if you were to take a swim in Diesel you should head for the shower ASAP. Absorption through the skin is not instantaneous. You have minutes (not seconds) to wash it off your skin.

In practice we have to assess the risk of exposure to liquid spills on a case by case basis. For example if the diesel spill was 100 millilitres on a concrete surface the required PPE would probably be gloves and safety glasses. However if the spill was 10 litres of Diesel  in the bottom of a stormwater gully pit then we would require “The Full Monty” of PPE as listed above.

Absorb now offers a standard Hydrocarbon PPE kit as listed above (minus the respirator) in a sealed plastic bag which is mounted in a PVC satchel hanging inside the kit. This provides a single use PPE supply for one person that meets the SDS requirements for Hydrocarbons. We also offer a Hazchem PPE kit however we usually aim to match the supplied PPE to the SDS for the specific Hazardous Chemicals being used.

In addition the Spill Response Training conducted by Absorb will include the requirement to actually select and use the appropriate PPE for each spill scenario. We believe that this level of realism in training is required to ensure your personnel are protected when they are dealing with real spill incidents.

In Summary Absorb is upgrading spill kit PPE by:

  1. Upgrading the supply and housing of PPE in Spill Kits
  2. Improving the realism of the use of PPE in our spill response training

What I ask each of you to do is review your current strategy for the supply of PPE for your spill responders and ensure that this is adequate.