What are the three main types of spill kits?

Spills can happen at any workplace, it’s how you prepare for them that counts.

There are three main types of spill kits to consider when looking to arm your business with the best resources to protect it from damage caused by spills.

General Purpose Spill Kit

The general purpose spill kit is the most common spill kit and they are often found in workshops, factories and loading docks. This spill kit is designed to absorb non-aggressive liquids and contains equipment that is suited to absorbing fuel, coolants, hydraulic fluids, solvents and other common workshop liquids. The general purpose spill kit contains absorbents that are colour-coded grey and the spill kit has a grey lid for fast recognition.

Oil Only Spill Kit

Oil only spill kits are designed to handle hydrocarbons such as diesel, petrol and oils. These spill kits contain a range of components designed to contain and absorb land based hydrocarbon spills. Some or all of the absorbents in these spill kits repel water and are perfectly suited to absorbing oils and fuels in both wet and dry conditions. The oil only spill kit contains white absorbents and the kit lid is colour coded white.

Hazchem Spill Kit

The hazchem spill kit is equipped to contain and absorb spills of acids, caustics and agricultural chemicals as well as hydrocarbons such as solvents and fuels. This spill kit has applications to the widest scope of substances so is ideal for sites that use a broad range of liquids. Both the absorbents and kit lid are colour-coded yellow.

As stated in Australian Standards and WHS regulations, the size of your spill kit will need to be able to clean up a spill from the largest container you have on site.

Ask your supplier to provide you with third party accredited laboratory testing to ensure that the stated spill response capacity is accurate. This accuracy allows you to effectively meet your legal obligations.

All of these spill kits contain some or all of the following items:

  • Pads and Rolls:  Multi-purpose products that are fast acting and designed for industrial clean ups, an economical solution for instant spill absorbency. In addition to cleaning up spills on the ground, they can be used to wipe down plant and machinery.
  • Booms and Socks: These are the primary spill containment items that are included in all spill kits. Booms can be linked across a wide from to deal with large spills.
  • Pillows: Whilst not ideal spill response products, pillows are ideal for placing under slow leaks from tanks or machinery as they have a higher absorbent capacity than standard pads.
  • Loose Absorbent: Ideal for spreading over large areas and provides a cost effective option for dealing with small spills.
  • Disposal Bags: To be used to contain contaminated absorbents prior to disposal.
  • Personal Protection Equipment: Generally spill kits contain basic PPE. You should consult you SDS to ensure the correct PPE is available for use in the event if a spill incident.

In addition to these three standard types, there are many other substance specific kits for liquids such as cytotoxic body fluids, peracetic acid and formalin.

By assessing the size of the spill kit needed, the type, its absorbency level and the types of absorbents needed you will have the necessary equipment to tackle almost any type of spill. However, a spill response plan is imperative to ensure that the spill kit is used appropriately to protect people, property and the environment.