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Containment Curbs and Spill Prevention

November 8, 2012

According to the National Response Center within one year there were over 10,000 recordable spills that occurred in fixed facilities.  This number does not included spills that are not required to be reported.  If you break that number down that is over 1 per hour.  Of those 10,000, over 80% were due to operator mistakes or equipment failure.  There are specific areas that spills generally occur and specific ways to contain these spills, an article entitled “Spill Containment 101” goes through a number of common areas within a facility where spills can happen.

Spills can occur under processing machinery and storage tanks.  Facilities can use a containment curb, which is a small curb placed on the floor around an area, to contain these spills.  Containment curbs can be built from cement for permanent use or foam/heavy duty cloth for a curb that can be moved from place to place.

A large majority of spills happen outside during transfer of liquids from a delivery.  Some facilities require trucks to park in a portable containment pool.  The curbs can be driven over and then pop back up once the truck has passed.  Other facilities have parking lots that angle down towards a drain.  The drains can be covered creating a large containment area.  For smaller spills that occur during delivery a spill kit that contains sand bags, dikes and absorbent booms should be kept in the area.

Overspray from pipes breaking and leaking within a facility can be handled with drain covers , non-absorbent dikes and vacuuming depending on the size of the spill.  Just as with any spill it is important to contain these quickly to prevent any liquid from reaching drains with storm water regulations.

Faucets and hand pumps can also cause small leaks and spills.  While these may not be as large as other types of spills within a facility, they can lead to slip and fall injuries as well as create a messy work area.  Often times these types of spills occur regularly and are routine.  They get cleaned as part of a cleaning regiment and not necessarily as an accident response.

Preventing slip and fall accidents in areas where spills occur is also important.  SlipNOT® Metal Safety Flooring provides high traction products that remain slip resistant even when covered in slippery liquids.  Non slip plate and grating can be placed around machinery, in loading areas and can be utilized as drain covers.  Slip resistant expanded metal could be retrofit over permanent containment curbs for added safety.  These safety products are also registered by NSF International and can be used within food processing and chemical facilities.  Keep your facility safe by providing practice drills for cleaning up spills and your employees safe by using high quality, slip resistant flooring products.

Hamel, Karen. “Spill Containment 101.” www.foodmanufacturing.com  January 5, 2011, October 25, 2012. http://www.foodmanufacturing.com/articles/2010/01/spill-containment-101>

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