Safety Articles

Article # 9200

Getting Tough with Non-aggressive Spills

Many of the materials found in the workplace are hazardous. That's why spills - no matter how small - have to be taken seriously. In addition to chemicals like chlorine and acids, everyday items like cleansers, solvents and oil are considered hazardous because of the damage they do to facilities and the environment. It is important to have the right clean-up supplies, and know how to use them, in order to handle a hazardous spill - even a nonaggressive one.

At a plastics manufacturer, Greg Kramer, the manager of safety, health, and environment, has developed a fleet of emergency response, oil containment carts, which include 3M sorbents, a shovel, squeegees, gloves, and a fire extinguisher. "Typically, we use these carts for day-to-day spills and leaks," he says. "When maintenance people work on the machines, they will place sorbents on the floor to collect fluids, leaks, and drips."

Kramer continues, "The sorbents come in many different configurations, which allows us to get to the source of the leak before it becomes a bigger problem. The sorbents are dust-free and contain no abrasive granules that could damage our equipment. In the event of a larger spill, we use a 3M sorbent pad or roll. Recently, 1,100 gallons of oil were spilled on the floor, and we used 3M sorbents to contain it."

At a leading brass foundry, they also rely on 3M sorbents for non-aggressive oil leaks. "We use sorbents around our drawing machines to clean up lubricating oils that leak from the machines," says Mike Holms, safety and environmental manager at the foundry. "Using clay is more time consuming, potentially damaging to equipment, and the disposal is extremely costly - not to mention harder to clean up. More importantly, the high liquid capacity of the 3M sorbent means you change it less frequently, saving both material and labor costs."