Category Archives: Spill Containment

EnviroPad: the smart spill containment solution

Oil spills can have severe consequences on the environment, but what dangers do they present in the workplace? Read on as we explore the potential hazards of oil spills and just how effective our new EnviroPad range is when it comes to spill containment.

If you’re unaware, oil is one of the most widespread and common pollutants in the UK. It’s used in large quantities in many different industries, and just a small amount can have lasting effects on the environment and wildlife – but what about in the workplace? It’s typical to find forklifts, trucks, and industrial equipment in warehouses and they depend on using oil and similar chemicals as fuel. If this is relevant to your business, then you’ll need a cost-effective spill containment solution that won’t let you down in case of a leak or spill.

You need to safeguard against these unfortunate, but likely, hazards by having solid procedures in place. If you don’t, then you’re automatically increasing the chances of workplace slips and falls. Not only that, but oil and other fuels are highly flammable and can catch fire if exposed to even the smallest of sparks. Can you avoid oil and fuel spills? Chances are, you can’t. You can safeguard against them and prepare for them, though.

The Guidance Note for the Control Of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 recommends: “A stock of materials, such as sand or commercially available absorbent materials, gully seals and booms should be held on site to deal with spillages. If a spill does occur, immediate action should be taken to contain it and to prevent it from entering any drains or watercourses. Do not hose spillages down or use any detergents.”

Our newest range of products, the EnviroPad, can play a vital role in your spill prevention and clean-up plan. These mats utilise innovative, clever technology that turns hydrocarbons into a rubber-like mass, without a liner. They bond the oil and permanently immobilise it, which prevents the chance of further leakage.


The EnviroPad helps catch a spill and eliminates the chance of slips and falls, as well as dramatically reducing the chance of polluting the environment. You can place pumps, generators, and other equipment on top of these mats in advance of a spill, or deploy them once a spill occurs.

Five reasons you should use an EnviroPad

  1. Cost-effective spill containment: no additional liners needed
  2. Pollutants are removed to non-detectable levels in no time at all
  3. Lightweight and durable with no bulky walls
  4. Entirely suitable for use indoors and outdoors, water is harmlessly repelled
  5. Available in three sizes to suit your specific requirements

Ready to introduce the EnviroPad into your spill containment solution? Check out the range on our website or call a member of our friendly team on 01724 281044 and we’ll help find the right solution for you!

How to contain an oil drum spill in one easy lesson

How to contain an oil drum spill is a question that we get asked a lot here at Spill Control Centre. Find the only worthwhile answer in our blog, which will cut clean through to the heart of the matter, without bombarding you with complex law…

Containing an oil drum spill is about learning one simple lesson: preparation. If you’re ready for it to happen, as it surely will eventually, then you have it covered.

So what’s the best way to prepare for an oil drum spill? The answer will always be: ‘store drums on an oil drum spill pallet’. Of course by the time the oil slick starts to spread over the workshop floor, and is further dispersed by people walking through it, then it’s too late to order one. The time to order an oil drum spill pallet is now, so it’s in place and ready for action when the spill happens.

At the top of this blog we said that we wouldn’t bombard you with complex law. Here at Spill Control Centre, we are true to our word.  The relevant legislation is important but we worry about this so you don’t have to. If you buy a product from us you can be comfortable in the knowledge that every product in our range has been designed to comply with all the relevant rules and regulations. That means you should be reassured that by buying from us you’ll comply with all the relevant laws – so long as you use the product in the way it was intended, of course!

Oil Drum Spill

What is an oil drum spill pallet?

So, in our view, the key to containing an oil drum spill is to get an oil drum spill pallet.  These oil drum spill pallets are as close to ‘fit and forget’ technology as you’re likely to find, because essentially they are a robust and corrosion-free container. Completely seam-free, they are moulded bunds topped by a grid on which a number of drums or a couple of IBCs (intermediate bulk containers) can be stored, with sufficient space beneath to hold the complete contents of the drum or drums with room to spare.

Rather than running all over the floor, spilled oil drops through the grid into the bund, where it is contained, and from where it can easily be gathered. The strength of the pallet is such that each model is perfectly capable of holding the drums it’s designed for, up to and including fully loaded IBCs. The pallets are easily moved using forklifts, but are not designed to be moved with their pallets in place – those need to be taken off first.

To give some examples, the largest product in our range is this Prestige model, capable of holding two IBCs or eight 205-litre drums, or a combination of both. It has a four-tonne safe working load. At the other end of the scale, amongst the most popular are our Econobund products, which come in two-drum and four-drum versions.

Oil drum spill control indoors and out

Across the range we have spill pallets that are best suited for indoors and those that are best suited for outdoors. To us, they are the ultimate spill containment measure and help to prevent and contain oil drum spills. Why not visit our website and ask us a question on Live Chat, we will be happy to go into more detail with you.

Effects of oil spills on the environment

Prevent spillages in the workplace from turning into an environmental disaster with the help of Plant Nappy, a great product used to contain the dangers of oil spills in the workplace.

Any parent knows that dealing with a baby’s nappy isn’t the most pleasant part of raising a child. Imagine how much worse it would be if the baby didn’t have a nappy at all. Yet, for a moment please try to imagine just that; magnify the result on an industrial scale, and consider the potential effects on the environment not just of spilled human waste but spillages of all the other liquids, such as fuel and oil in its multitude of forms, that we rely on to sustain life as we choose to live it in the 21st century.

By focussing on spillages in the workplace we must emphasise that we mean this in its broadest possible sense. It encompasses far more than back street garages and industrial parks, but major industrial concerns, farmers’ fields, and even fishing grounds at sea. If you take the effects of oil spills in the latter then it is clearly apparent that the effects can be wide-reaching and long-lasting; simply look at the Deepwater Horizon incident.

However, even much smaller oil spillages in the workplace can damage the food chain, or even destroy it completely. Put simply, if even a small amount of oil is spilled and reaches a watercourse then the consequences can be alarming. Water is made up of polar molecules and oil is made up of non-polar molecules. When they come into contact, they do not mix – the oil does not dissolve into the water. The effect of this is that it simply sits on the water and clogs up the marine ecosystem. It gets into the fur and feathers of animals and it generally prevents them from functioning properly; it is also highly toxic. Gradually, over time, this prevents the ecosystem from functioning and this can have indirect consequences all the way up the food chain.

This is why anyone working with fuel or oil that can be spilled (and they all can) should be protecting the environment by planning for when that spill happens – as it surely will, eventually. Oh, and not to forget that apart from the environmental effects, there are also significant financial consequences for companies permitting spills that endanger the environment.

We would encourage you to read on in order to discover one possible solution to this risk. 

Don't pollute the ocean. It's someone's home.

Picture: Nadine Everesk via Dreamstime

Plant Nappy – prevention is better than cure

Prevention is always far better than cure. This is where the plant nappies come into their own because, used properly, they form the perfect ‘safety net’ for spillages in the workplace.

Their main function is as a ‘safety first’ base for people working in a variety of sectors, such as construction, heavy industry, agricultural workers or mechanics. They are perfectly designed to allow plant and machinery to be positioned onto them in order to act as prevention for any spillages in the workplace by catching any leaks from the item of plant. The absorbent material in the nappy is always ready to contain any spill, such as might happen when refuelling by hand from a container of petrol.

The really clever part is that plant nappies are clever enough to distinguish between harmless water, which they allow to pass through, and fuel & oil, which are captured. What makes this a really useful feature is that the absorbency you’ve deployed isn’t wasted on water, but is exclusively available for what really needs to be trapped for safe disposal. They are so much more effective than old-fashioned drip trays because after a spill the fuel or oil they have contained can easily be disposed of, whereas a drip tray is little more than another spill waiting to happen, especially outdoors in the rain.

The way plant nappies work, and the vital environmental protection they provide, is perfectly illustrated in this short video on the Plant Nappy page of our Spill Control Centre website. The video highlights the extent of the damage spilled oil can cause with a litre of oil being sufficient to contaminate a million gallons of water. With this in mind, it really is prudent to consider the pre-emptive containment option that Plant Nappy offers to you.

Which Plant Nappy is right for you

The Plant Nappy principle is the same in every case. There is a Plant Nappy unit which is supplied in a variety of sizes to suit the application being undertaken and the size of the plant to be positioned onto it. Then, to prolong the life of your Plant Nappy, replacement liners can be purchased – these are great to protect and extend the life of your Plant Nappy if you plan to position it on rough ground with plant on it. The liners come in a variety of different sizes to fit different sized plant nappies. As well as the size of your plant, when making your decision it is worth bearing in mind another significant factor – how much oil can it contain? This Plant Nappy, for instance, is our biggest and measures 2m x 1.4m, and will absorb 18 litres of fuel or oil.

Remember, a further Plant Nappy benefit…

Doing your bit for the environment and helping your company’s bottom line often don’t go hand in hand. However, with the Plant Nappy they do – this is because the Plant Nappy’s life can be prolonged by using cost effective replacement liners rather than always having to replace the Plant Nappy itself.  Take a look at our Plant Nappy range here.

Out of the frying pan: How to turn waste oil into gold

From heating the premises to powering the works van, waste oil is no longer waste, but a valuable resource companies can use or sell to reduce their carbon footprint and become more cost effective. But maximising the benefit from ‘second-hand’ oil requires careful and diligent storage. Spill Control Centre explains what to look for.

Every Yorkshireman is no doubt familiar with the expression:

‘where there’s muck, there’s brass’.

The thought suggests there’s money to be made where there are dirty jobs to be done, and it has been the case for centuries – author John Ray first coined it in 1678 in a small book called “A Collection of English Proverbs’. Doubtless there was more reason for its use in Victorian Britain, driven by the money-making aspirations of the owners of industrial processes.

But 21st-century Britain offers a new layer of meaning for the old phrase; a combination of securing another income stream whilst simultaneously making sure that England’s ‘green and pleasant land’ stays, well, green and pleasant.

This is the environmental dimension involved in waste oil. Immediately of course, ‘waste’ becomes a misnomer; because what was once seen as waste in one industry now becomes a valuable raw material for another. All kinds of oil and oil-bearing products have ‘after-market’ values depending on what they are, but all have one thing in common – the need for careful handling and storage once their primary function is over.

Any kind of spillage not only threatens the environment, but also reduces the potential financial return from the material’s resale. And that can be considerable. It’s possible to recycle used cooking oil into fuel for diesel-powered cars and vans; fuel which can cost just pennies a litre, rather then the conventional £1-plus pump price.

Used motor oil – from just about any engine – can be cleaned and used again as a fuel oil. Oil giant Mobil says a gallon of used oil provides a gallon of fuel oil, but, with more specialist processing, can be re-refined back into lubricants, delivering a 60% yield.

Cooking Oil

Why the right storage solution is important

It’s really important to pick the right storage solution, as Defra points out in this guide on our Advice pages. Finding something to keep the oil in is child’s play; it can go back into the same drums it came in, so long as there’s no cross-contamination caused my mixing the contents. However, storing the drums is another matter. They can’t go on open ground; any spillages could leach into watercourses, and they can’t safely be stored on concrete or other impermeable surfaces, because spillages will make the area slippery and unsafe.

Even the most careful and environmentally-conscious of employees can make a mistake from time to time, and cause a spill. With luck, it will be a small one. However, the right option is to contain any spill with spill containment products which have built-in spill collection capacity, negating the risk from any kind of spill.

Appropriate storage includes spill pallets that have integral drip trays, sealable cabinets to

protect drums from the elements, and some come equipped with wheels to make manual handling completely trouble-free. The permutations available are numerous, but the right option will have a certain number of features, no matter what its design or size.

Ten key points to look out for when buying an oil storage system

1. Does it have integral spill containment capacity?
2. Is the construction durable, using oil-resistant materials such as polyethylene?
3. How strong is it? Drums full of oil can be very heavy, of course!
4. If it’s going to live outdoors, does it have UV inhibitors to ensure the maximum service life?
5. Is it weather resistant?
6. If necessary, does it have flexible shelving arrangement for drums and bottles of different sizes?
7. Is it built with ease of manual or forklift truck handling in mind?
8. How quickly can it be delivered?
9. What will delivery cost, bearing in mind the sizes of some of these solutions? Pick the right supplier, and delivery can not only happen in two or three days, but could also be free.
10. Will the supplier also be able to provide ancillary spill containment equipment such as a range of absorbents that I might need too?

Visit the advice pages from for more advice on oil storage solutions.

Picture: Bat09mar via Dreamstime.

Deepwater by name, deep water by nature

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urges us all to join forces to make a positive difference on World Environment Day, Spill Control Centre offers advice about spill control products to help you look after the environment around you.

The name of the oil rig from which gushed the world’s largest oil spill was prophetic. Deep water was what BP and its contractor colleagues found themselves in when oil poured out of the Deepwater Horizon well in an uncontrolled stream for 87 days in 2010, coating beaches, killing wildlife and threating whole ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico and perhaps beyond.

The clean-up on the beaches lasted much longer; the clean-up through the courts much longer still. But what are important now are the lessons learned for all of us. Perhaps most importantly is the extent to which nature can spread spilled pollutants, which can have an adverse effect even in the smallest quantities.

And that calls on all of us to exercise more care in the way we handle materials we rely on to live life in the 21st century. We have developed products with a high level of toxicity to ecosystems, and built a lifestyle upon them. Deepwater was about oil, a vital ingredient for the lifestyles of people living around and earning their living from the Gulf of Mexico; thousands of other compounds are routinely used domestically and in industry, and the reality is that familiarity with them, as well as a disregard for the harm they can do, leads to them being spilled on a regular basis.

Those spills are just one of the concerns highlighted by World Environment Day, taking place this year on June 5th. It’s organised by the United Nations to raise awareness of the need to think about the environment in everything we do. This year it’s under the banner of ‘Seven Billion Dreams; One Plant; Consume With Care’.

World Environment Day

Ban Ki-MoonIt might seem impossible for any of us to change what damage is being done to the environment, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, pictured, points out that as the global environment is being damaged bit by bit by individuals, so small changes can be made for the better. He says:

Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.

How you can make a difference

In that context, we can all make a difference. Our specialist area is in spill control, and we’d say that the reaction to spills must start with a combination of containment and prevention. Our advice would be: ‘Expect the worst and be ready for it’. That’s the only way to make sure a spill on your premises doesn’t turn into an ecological issue further away.

It needs the correct mind-set and focus of everyone working with harmful chemicals. We’d advise working carefully to guard against spills, as well as thoughtful use and appropriate disposal.

And if the prevention fails and a spill happens, then effective containment is the last resort. It’s no good trying to buy spill containment solutions when a spill happens. That would be a futile exercise in closing the stable door behind a horse that’s bolted.

How to sort your own spill containment solution

Oily WasteJust how you go about preparing depends on what may be spilled, and what onto, but it’s always best to have the right equipment on site and close to where the spill might happen.

Spill Control Centre offers a very broad range of spill control solutions, from bunds capable of holding more than 1,000 litres of liquid to small kits designed to cope hygienically with body fluids. Many are required by legislation, which is why we’ve pulled together onto our advice pages information for your ease and convenience.

There are absorbent materials designed for oil, others design to mop up water, granules that can be dropped into liquid and swept up, and re-usable drain covers to stop spills spreading.

You’ll probably be well advised to have a complete solution involving more than one product, and if you’re not certain what you need, we have helpful sales staff who would be happy to talk you through the benefits of products in our range.

Spill clean up picture: Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley via Flickr

Ban Ki-Moon picture: ITU/M. Jacobson-Gonzales via Flickr