The dangers of choosing a spill kit that includes standardised PPE

To ensure workers are protected during spill response Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs to be provided that fits each individual responder and their specific application. Including PPE in a spill kit is often viewed by some suppliers as an added value. However, it can pose many dangers to responders as specific requirements aren’t likely to have been considered prior to including PPE in spill kits.

One of the main dangers is that PPE, like suits and gloves, won’t be the right size for spill responders. The fit needs to be right to ensure proper protection during spill response. Protective suits that are too big will have excess material that can create a slip or trip hazard. Gloves that are too big will be loose around the cuff which could allow liquid splashes to come into contact with hands. Dexterity could also be lost when handling spill equipment. Likewise, Suits and gloves that are too small are likely to stretch during movement and could burst or tear, exposing skin to the spilled liquid.

PPE that’s included in a spill kit is also unlikely to be compatible with your liquids. One single fabric will not resist all chemicals, so don’t assume that the suit or gloves provided in a spill kit will give responders the right level of protection. Incompatible PPE is likely to degrade upon contact and expose skin to the spilled liquid, increasing the risk of an injury. Responders are also likely to take more risks during spill clean up because they think the PPE provided will protect them.

There’s also the risk that PPE included in a spill kit will not offer the right level of resistance and protection for the type of spill and job to be done. Take for example a lightweight breathable suit, it’s suitable for low volume spills and light splash & spray hazards but wouldn’t be suitable for a deep, chemical spill. Responders come up against different volumes and depths of spill, as well as a wide range of contaminants that require different levels of resistance and protection. PPE needs to be chosen with these specific considerations in mind.

To keep workers safe PPE needs to be the right size, compatible with your liquids and offer the right level of resistance and protection. Choosing a spill kit that includes PPE could be putting your responders at risk and could prove a huge gamble.

Have you checked that your spill kits contain the correct PPE? We would be happy to provide you with some advice on the right PPE for your responders and application. Let us know your requirements by commenting on our blog or posting on our facebook wall at www.facebook.com/newpiguk.

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