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Spill Kits for Commercial Mechanics – What You Need to Know

Commercial mechanics and garages tend to use a lot of different liquids and chemicals throughout the day. Whether it’s oils, lubricants, antifreeze or brake fluid, a spill or leak can be a health and safety risk as well as make an unsightly mess. Here’s our guide to spill kits for mechanics.

What are spill kits?

Spill kits contain everything you need to stop a spill from spreading, as well as to clean it up. Specific types of liquids need specific types of absorbents, so you’ll need to make sure that you have the right spill kit type for your environment.

What are the types?

Oil spill-kits, as the name suggests, are designed to deal with oil spills. These kits are usually white in colour, and will include absorbent pads and rolls manufactured from a hydrophobic material – meaning they repel water, only absorbing the oil. This prevents them from becoming oversaturated in wet or damp environments, or if the oil has become mixed with water.

Universal spill kits are a good all-rounder. They are usually a lighter grey colour, and can absorb water and oil-based liquids – including coolants, antifreeze and lubricants. If you are tackling an oil spill that has mixed with water, this type of kit will absorb both rather than keeping the water separate.

AdBlue spill kits are one of the newest types of kit. They are designed to absorb AdBlue or other diesel exhaust fluid spills. These fluids are made from an aqueous urea solution, so other kit types are not great at dealing with this kind of spill or leak.

How many do you need?

When you’ve decided which kind of spill kit you want to keep on hand, you’ll need to think about the quantity. If your space is large, you should consider keeping several smaller kits dotted about so that you can respond quickly. If you have a smaller site, then a single, centralised spill kit storage place makes sense.

Kits are supplied with reference to absorbent capacity – the amount of liquid they can soak up. So, if you have a 10-litre kit, it should be able to absorb up to 10 litres of the spill. Think about the type of work you do and the likely spills – if you are regularly storing or using significant quantities of a particular liquid, be sure that you have enough absorbents to deal with a total spill. If your work typically entails topping up antifreeze or changing oils, a smaller kit will be sufficient.

How are they used?

A basic spill kit will include absorbent pads, socks and rolls. When a spill occurs, the socks or rolls are used to create a wall around the edges of the puddle to stop it from spreading, whilst the pads are used to soak up the bulk of the liquid. Your kit should also contain disposal bags, so when you’re done you can simply put the saturated pads, socks and rolls into the waste bags for safe disposal.

Why bother?

Depending on the type of liquid that is spilled, there can be serious health and safety implications to not dealing with it quickly and effectively. Fuels and oils can be ignited fairly easily, so a small spill can quickly escalate into a dangerous and destructive blaze, whilst any liquid at all can present a slip and fall hazard – potentially injuring you, your staff or your customers and resulting in expensive litigation or staff absences. Finally, the way your business looks can be seen by your customers as a reflection of how you operate. Unsightly marks on the floor where spills have been poorly dealt with can be off-putting and cause you to lose business.

Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk

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