How to Address a Hazardous Chemical Spill
A chemical spill can be a serious cause for concern whether you are looking to buy or sell a piece of property. Along with fire hazards, chemical hazards can put people and property at risk, and possibly even cause death or injury. And if you are a property owner or would-be home buyer, the presence of dangerous chemicals on the premises can affect the value of the property significantly and may require professional biohazard cleanup services.
Chemicals have many uses in factories, industrial plants, laboratories, offices, and even in and around the home. But they pose a serious risk when they are not used or disposed of correctly. When hazardous chemicals are misused or handled carelessly, they have the potential to cause a serious accident.
Many commonly used chemicals are toxic or highly corrosive. Some are also flammable and prone to quick oxidization. When these chemicals react with other household solutions, the situation could dangerously spiral out of control.
Preventative Measures For Chemical Spills
When it comes to hazardous chemical spills, prevention is always the best course of action. You can prevent accidents from happening in the first place by following proper storage, transfer, and handling procedures, and using and disposing of chemicals properly.
Dealing with a Chemical Spill
You can reduce the risk of chemical spills considerably by storing and handling them properly. But if the worst happens and a spill does occur, you will need to take immediate action so that injury can be prevented. Here are some steps on how to prevent chemical spills and deal with them when they do happen. We advise extreme caution when dealing with chemical spills and other hazards, and if necessary bring in a professional biohazard cleanup team to maintain your safety.
1. Communicating the Problem
It is crucial to communicate the problem to the proper authorities as soon as possible after the spill occurs. You can call 911 or the hazardous waste disposal department of your community so that the situation can be assessed thoroughly. First responders should be able to tell you whether or not evacuation is necessary.
2. Controlling the spill
Before help arrives, move all injured or affected people to a safe spot away from the scene. In some cases, you may be able to flush the contaminated area safely with water. You may also consider taking steps to prevent the spill from worsening or causing any more harm.
These suggestions only apply for chemical spills that you are familiar with and which you know won’t be worsened by your intervention. If you have doubts about the safety or effectiveness of your planned spill control measures, it might be best to wait for qualified personnel to arrive at the scene.
3. Containing the hazard
You may be able to prevent the spilled chemicals from spreading or contaminating nearby surfaces and objects. Depending on the substances in question and how extensive the spill is, you may be able to confine it to a relatively small area with a neutralizer or absorbent material. Try placing the material around the spill and work your way inwards until you effectively contain the chemicals.
4. Cleaning up the spill
If you can safely do so, you might want to attempt cleaning up the spill. Again, only do this if you have the right PPE and are sure that the chemicals won’t cause you harm or injury.
Clean the affected area with a mild detergent and plenty of water. It would probably be best to avoid using solutions that could react with the spilled chemicals. When you are done, dispose of all the cleaning materials safely and wash your hands thoroughly.
Formulating a Spill Plan
Regardless of the steps you take to address a chemical spill, formulating a spill plan will help ensure your ability to deal with the problem as safely as possible. Everyone responsible for the property should know the steps to take when a spill occurs and who to contact.
The details of the spill plan depend on the chemicals in question and the personnel that are qualified to handle them. Everyone involved should have access to the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and spill control materials. They should also have sufficient training in dealing with hazardous chemical spills.
Don’t forget to put together a list of people to contact when a spill occurs. Your plan should also include evacuation guidelines and where people can go to avoid further exposure.
A hazardous chemical spill is a fairly serious matter that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to abandon the home or back out of an impending sale. If you can have the problem solved by a competent professional, it may be possible to have the house and the grounds restored to a livable condition.