When dealing with Hazardous or “Hazmat” materials it is important to remember that spillages can and do take place.


AfriSupply will take you through the appropriate methods and measures to ensure minimum risk to human health, the environment and property.


Hazmat, Hazardous materials or commonly referred to as dangerous goods come in the form of solids, liquids or gases that can harm people, the environment or property. Examples of these are Acids, Oils, Diesels, and Chemicals to name but a few.


Spillages happen very easily. When manufacturing, loading, transporting, off- loading or storing such materials always ensure that there is immediate access to the appropriate equipment to ensure adequate and efficient handling of spillages, this would include the appropriate spill kits, absorbents and safety protective wear.

Always ensure that spill kits are close at hand to ensure a prompt response to spillages. When dealing with a spillage, no matter the size or volume, always assess the risk before taking action.

What does this mean? If possible, identify the spilled material and determine how much was spilled. If uncertain of the danger or what the spilled material is always assume the worst and take the highest level of caution

What to do when spills happen


From the moment spills occurs and throughout the response, determine risks that may affect human health, the environment and property. ALWAYS PUT SAFETY FIRST.  If possible, identify the spilled material and determine how much was spilled.


Choose the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to safely respond to the spill.  Consult Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and literature from Chemical and PPE manufacturers for the best recommendations. If you are uncertain of the danger and the spilled material is unknown, assume the worst and use the highest level of protection.


SPEED COUNTS! Limit the spill area by blocking, diverting or confining the spill.  Use contained absorbents such as socks and booms as found in our spill kits.  STOP the flow of the liquid before it has a chance to contaminate a water source.  Spill kits are designed to facilitate a quick, effective response.


After the spill is confined, stop the source of the spill.  This may simply involve turning a container upright or plugging a leak from a damaged drum or container. Products like the Repair Putty as well as barrel patches and cone plugs are effective at stopping leaks.  Transfer liquids from the damaged container to a new one.


Once the spill is confined and the leak has been stopped, it is time to re-assess the incident and develop a plan of action for implementing the spill clean-up.  Pillows and mat pads are commonly used to absorb the remainder of the spill.  Simply place the pillows and pads throughout the spill area.  Unused absorbents are not hazardous.  However, once the absorbents are saturated with oils, solvents etc. they may be considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.


Decontaminate the site, personnel and equipment by removing or neutralizing the hazardous materials that have accumulated during the spill.  This may involve removing and disposing of contaminated media such as soil that was exposed during the spill incident.  An effective decontamination area ensures the health and safety of emergency responders.


Complete all notifications and paperwork required by local and governmental guidelines for reporting spill incidents.  Failure to do so can result in severe penalties.


Final thoughts

We hope the guidelines above will come in handy when responding to unexpected spills. It would also be best to be well prepared by having proper spill kits ready for use in case of an  emergency. Visit the leading supplier of spill solutions in South Africa and get expert advice on www.afrisupply.co.za