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Spill Control & Dangerous Goods Storage

Frequently Asked Questions

A spill kit is a set of absorbent items, to be used in case of a spill, leak or other discharge of environmentally hazardous liquids. Spill kits should always be topped up and on hand for the next spill so that a prompt response and clean-up can be performed effectively.

When a chemical spill occurs, there are three first steps to be taken as below. (With major spills, the authorities should also be contacted):
  1. Control the source of the spill,
  2. Contain the spill,
  3. Clean up the spill.
Different types and sizes of portable spill kits are supplied in containers such as water-proof bags, barrels, buckets and wheelie bins to suit the individual situations of workplaces. They are essential for every truck, bus, other heavy vehicle, car park, loading dock, laboratory, maintenance shed, workshop, factory, bus or truck depot, airport hangar, boat storage facility, car sales yard.

There are 3 main types of spill kits:

  1. Oil & Fuel Kits (Yellow kits with white colour coded absorbents) – these kits do not absorb water which means they can be used outdoors during rain (or dry weather) to remove contaminants from run-off. These kits absorb oils, diesel, petrol, coolants, degreasers, mild acids, paint, solvents.
  2. General Purpose Spill Kits (Blue kits with grey colour coded absorbents) – these universal spill kits are used to soak up coolants, degreasers, paint, blood, bodily fluids, oils and fuels as well as mild acids, bases and water-based chemicals, plus ‘AdBlue’ (urea and deionised water) and water. This kit is designed for all general applications including indoors where water from fire sprinkler discharge or roof leaks may occur.
  3. Hazchem Spill Kits (Red kits with pink colour coded absorbents) - for virtually all chemicals, aggressive acids and bases (alkalis), paint, solvents, oils, fuels, coolants, degreasers, herbicides and pesticides.
Is your spill kit topped up and ready for use? There is nothing worse than experiencing a spill and not having the necessary equipment available to respond immediately. It is also a legal requirement to prevent spilled chemicals from entering stormwater systems. Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and Council’s Local Laws, businesses have a responsibility to prevent the discharge of waste from their property causing stormwater pollution.
How to work out the height (depth) of a bund for a particular capacity: There is a simple formula for calculating the volume capacity and therefore the height that a spill control bund needs to be. “The capacity of a bund must be at least 110% of the volume of the largest container in storage.” This can be worked out using a few simple steps as follows:
  1. Identify the volume of the largest container to be stored within the bund. E.g. 207L (44 Gallon) drum etc.
  2. Add 10% to this volume, e.g. 207L + 10% = 228L.
  3. Measure the length x width in cm of the floor area where the bund is to be located. E.g. 200cm x 300cm = 60,000cm2.
  4. There are 1000 cubic cm in 1 litre. So for 228L, the CC’s are 228,000. Divide this volume by the floor area (60,000cm2) to get the minimum height of the bund which in this example is 3.8cm.
  5. This means that for a bund 2m x 3m (200cm x 300cm) used to store a largest container of 207L, a suitable bunding product to use would be 2 rolls of Area Safe Extruded Rubber Hump Bund which is 4cm high.
Dangerous goods cabinets store chemicals safely to protect people and buildings, particularly from fire. They provide emergency personnel safe access and extra time to fight fires without the fire exploding out of control. Unprotected chemicals are an accelerant that speeds or accelerates the development and escalation of fire. It’s no secret that most industrial fires and accidents are caused by improper storage and handling of hazardous substances.

It is dangerous to store different categories of chemical together and it is dangerous (and against the law) to store more than a very small quantity of chemicals without an Australian Standard approved storage cabinet. For safe storage of chemical containers, Area Safe dangerous goods cabinets should be purchased.

The different categories for dangerous goods storage are as below. These chemicals must be stored in a colour coded Australian Standard compliant storage cabinet, labelled with the correct Hazchem sign placard as follows:
  1. Flammable Liquids (e.g. fuel) – yellow cabinets, ‘Flammable Liquid 3 + relevant Danger sign’.
  2. Corrosives (e.g. acid, chlorine etc) – blue cabinets, + ‘Corrosive 8’ sign.
  3. Pesticides – green cabinet, ‘Toxic 6 + relevant Danger Sign’.
  4. Flammable Gases – Aluminium or Galvanised Gas Bottle Cage (outdoors), ‘Flammable Gas 2 + relevant Danger sign’.
  5. Aerosols – aluminium cages, + ‘Flammable Gas 2’ sign.
  6. Herbicides are not classified as dangerous goods because they are water soluble.

According to Australian Standards, an Emergency eyewash, emergency shower and a spill kit must be installed in the area where hazardous substances are stored, opened, handled and prepared.

White coloured cabinets should only be used for storing waste flammable liquids (205L drum). This is because emergency services need the distinctive colour coding on the different cabinet types so they can instantly identify what chemicals are in storage.

This information is general in nature – professional advice should be sought for specific requirements.

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