How fuel and oil spill kits as well as other industrial spill equipment is used to clean up small oil spills

SpillPro on 1 March 2017

What is considered a small oil spill?

A small oil spill is typically defined as a spill of fewer than 20 litres of fuel or oil.

In most instances a small oil spill can be contained and cleaned up by one person. Provided they have access to the appropriate industrial spill equipment. Such as that found in common fuel and oil spill kits.

Small oil spills happen in a range of businesses and industries.

They perhaps most commonly occur as a result of spilt petrol during refuelling at service areas. However, there is the potential for spills anywhere fuels and oils are used. So preparation and prevention is essential.

Unattended to, even minor spills can cause significant harm to natural environments, wildlife and waterways. They can also result in costly fines or in severe cases, temporary closure of businesses.

Spill kits for small oil spills

Industrial spill equipment such as fuel and oil spill kits are your best defence against small oil spills.

Fuel and oil spill kits are colour-coded industrial spill equipment containers. They feature the tools you need to respond to common fuel and oil spills, when and where they occur.

Spill kits for small oil spills contain:

  • Containment booms
  • Absorbent pads
  • Contaminated waste bags
  • Floor Sweep cleaner
  • Plug and Dike filler

Fuel and oil spill kits also feature Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for protecting cleaners from potential spill-related injuries, such as skin rashes, burns and infections.

Find out more about spill kits for small oil spills on our fuel and oil spill kits page.

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How to use fuel and oil spill kits to respond to small spills at work

Here's a classic example of a small oil spill in the workplace. An oil container gets knocked over, hit or otherwise damaged. The result is a small hole which allows the contents to leak out and thereby cause a spill.

Responding to this type of spill can be done in 6 steps.

Step 1: Apply personal protective equipment

The first step is the most important. In any spill situation the priority should be your safety and the safety of other workers. So all spill cleaners should apply the appropriate protective wear.

Step 2: Plug the hole

Plug and Dike is a simple and easy-to-apply filler. You can use it to plug holes and stop leaks. This will prevent further leakage and will ensure that the spill does not get any larger.

Step 3: Contain the spill

Containment booms should be placed around the spill to stop it from spreading further. Booms are also an effective way of separating the contaminated area from the rest of the workplace.

Step 4: Soak up the spill

Absorbent pads soak up the spilt oil so it can be disposed of safely and completely. Apply the absorbents directly to the spill and allow them to soak it up. Multiple units may be required.

Step 5: Use floor Sweep

Floor Sweep can be used to absorb the remainder of the spill. Sprinkle it liberally and then work with a broom or brush until the last traces of oil have been absorbed.

Step 6: Dispose of cleanup equipment

The final step is to safely dispose of all cleaning tools and used industrial spill equipment. Do this by placing all contaminated equipment in the waste disposal bags provided in your fuel and oil spill kits.

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Preparing workers for oil spills in the workplace

Workers need to know what to do in the event of spills. You can have the best industrial spill equipment but if your staff don't know how to use it, then it may not be completely effective.

Spill preparation training doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming.

Just ensure your workers know:

  • How to use fuel and oil spill kits
  • Where to find spill kits in the workplace
  • How to dispose of waste disposal bags

When it comes to spills, your workers will be on the front line. So, make sure they have the tools and the skills to respond to them, quickly and safely.

Risks associated with small oil spills

In the workplace, spilt oil can cause a range of issues. Many of which can be quite serious.Issues include:

Environmental damage

Spilt oil can quickly spread to drains and gutters. From here it can progress to stormwater systems and eventually onto waterways where it will cause harm to the environment and wildlife.

Worker injuries

Oil, by its very nature, is slick. So even a small oil spill can make surfaces extremely slippery. This can result in slips and falls and all the injuries associated with these types of workplace accidents.

Ignition and fire

Oils and fuels are highly flammable. A spark from a power tool, flame from a welder or a carelessly discarded cigarette butt can often be all it take to ignite an oil spill.

Breach of Australian Standards

Improper handling of oil spills can cause your business to breach Australian Standards regarding the disposal of waste. Businesses found to be non-compliant can face costly fines and temporary site closures.

This is why you should always clean up oil spills quickly and completely. And why you should always have the appropriate industrial spill equipment on-hand and ready-to-go.

"Industrial spill equipment is your best defence against small oil spills."

Thinking Spill Kits? Think SpillPro.

At SpillPro we are your Australian spill specialists. Whatever your business or industry, we can help you to prepare for spills with a complete industrial spill equipment solution.

We stock a range of spill kits for small and medium sized spills, including purpose-built fuel and oil spill kits. Choose our regular maintenance service and you'll always have fresh equipment at hand.

Learn more on our fuel and oil spill kits page or call 1800 368 450