What is a Benefit of Universal Spill Kits?

By August 6, 2023 September 6th, 2023 Outpak

Spill kits are essential safety equipment for companies that work with chemicals, oils, or other hazardous materials, especially for those with mobile staff and vehicles.

But what type of spill kit do I need? Should I use a “universal” spill kit over something more specialized. And how do I dispose of the waste when it’s done?

This article includes some answers that may help:

  • What is a universal spill kit?
  • What do spill kits for oil spills contain?
  • What do spill kits for chemical spills contain?
  • What state laws for industrial waste spills should I consider?
  • Do I even need a spill kit?

What is a Universal Spill Kit?

A Universal Spill Kit is a specialized spill response kit designed to handle a wide range of liquid spills, including hazardous and non-hazardous materials such as chemicals, oils, and other liquids. These kits are typically used in industrial settings, laboratories, manufacturing facilities, transportation companies, and any other environment where the potential for spills exists. The term “universal” in this context signifies the kit’s versatility and ability to address various spill scenarios.

Universal Spill Kits are valuable because they provide a comprehensive and adaptable solution for addressing spills of unknown or mixed liquids. They are especially useful in situations where it’s challenging to predict the specific types of materials that might be spilled. This versatility simplifies spill response procedures and helps organizations comply with environmental regulations and safety standards. Some universal spill kits are also equipped with specialized materials, such as neutralizers, that can be used to treat spills of certain types of hazardous materials.


What Do Oil Spill Kits Include?

Oil spill kits are specialized spill response kits designed to handle spills of oils and hydrocarbons, including petroleum-based products like gasoline, diesel, motor oil, and hydraulic fluids. These kits are essential for industries that work with or store oils and fuels, as well as for emergency response teams dealing with oil spills. Oil spill kits typically include a variety of components and equipment tailored to effectively contain, absorb, and clean up oil-based spills. OSHA rules dictate that a kit needs to be on-hand to collect oil from the largest container on site. If you’re at a facility, your spill response preparation probably includes grading the floor near the containment vessel to lead spills to a trench for easier cleanup.

Portable spill kits, on the other hand, help companies meet OSHA regulations. For instance, a company truck that has a 25 gallon fuel pump needs to have a spill kit for those 25 gallons. Trucks that transport smaller amounts or have the potential of small oil leaks needs to have a spill kit onboard that meets the potential spill.

We offer a 25 gallon and 5 gallon spill kit that are compact and easy to store behind the cab of a vehicle.

What Do Spill Kits for Chemical Spills Include?

The type of absorbent may vary depending on the types of chemicals present. Common chemical absorbents include:

  • Chemical absorbent pads: These are used to absorb and control the spread of chemical spills.
  • Chemical absorbent socks or booms: These cylindrical absorbent tubes are used to encircle and contain the spill.
  • Chemical absorbent pillows: Larger absorbent pads designed to quickly absorb and neutralize larger quantities of chemicals.
  • Chemical absorbent granules or powders: Loose absorbents that can be sprinkled on spills for better absorption and neutralization.

OSHA requires companies to be able to quickly handle the type of oil or fuel spills they’ll encounter. Having a kit makes it easy to meet those requirements.

State Law for Industrial Waste Spills

Laws vary from state to state, so you’ll need to check on the laws in your state for how to handle a spill. In Idaho (where Outpak is located), our laws really narrow down to “speed, coverage and disposal”.

  1. Clean Waste Quickly
  2. Clean Waste Completely
  3. Dispose of Waste Fully

Spill kits are one-time use only and must be disposed of according to state rules for the disposal of hazardous waste. For every kit, we suggest including your company procedures on how to dispose of that waste. Reference state rules on disposal to make your policy.

Do I Need a Spill Kit, according to OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States does not have specific regulations that mandate the use of spill kits. However, OSHA has various regulations in place that require employers to take measures to prevent and respond to hazardous material spills in the workplace. Whether you need a spill kit or not depends on the specific hazards present in your workplace and your compliance with OSHA’s regulations. However, OSHA regulations are related to hazardous material spills.

  1. Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200): Employers must have a written hazard communication program in place that includes labeling, safety data sheets (SDS), and employee training on the hazards of chemicals in the workplace. If your workplace handles hazardous chemicals, you should have appropriate spill response procedures and equipment, which may include spill kits.
  2. Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard (29 CFR 1910.120 and 29 CFR 1926.65): Employers engaged in hazardous waste operations must comply with HAZWOPER requirements, which include having a spill response plan and appropriate spill control and containment equipment, including spill kits, as part of an emergency response program.
  3. General Duty Clause (29 USC 654(a)(1)): OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. If there is a significant risk of chemical spills in your workplace, OSHA may require you to take measures to address that hazard, which could include having spill kits available.
  4. Other Industry-Specific Regulations: Depending on your industry and specific operations, there may be additional OSHA regulations that require the use of spill kits or other spill control measures. For example, the construction industry (29 CFR 1926) and the maritime industry (29 CFR 1915, 1917, 1918) have their own sets of regulations that may apply.

Some companies believe that having a bag of cat litter, some gloves, and a trash bag will also suffice. However it is not enough to meet worker safety, public signage and a path to disposal.

Can I Use Spill Kits More Than Once?

No. Spill kits are designed for single use. Once the waste is contained, use the spill kit bag to collect the waste and then dispose according to state and OSHA laws.

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