Tag 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.

Why spill kit contents are your friends in a crisis

Spill kit contents can vary depending on the type and nature of the spill kit. This article takes a look at the typical spill kit contents that you will find and spends some time considering what these products are and what they actually do in order to help you with spill containment when something goes wrong.

Back in the 90’s an insurance company ran an advertising campaign in which its selling point was ‘we won’t make a drama out of a crisis’.

More than two decades later, the objective of dedicated spill kits is just the same: to prevent unplanned and unwanted incidents from becoming worse than they already are. Their effectiveness relies on a combination of simple science on their part and forward planning on ours and yours. By expecting the worst – remember Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong – you are able to plan for the best outcome when it does.

Crucial to the effectiveness of spill kit contents are three key factors: Anticipation, Prevention, and Cure. Let’s look at all three in turn.

Anticipation: Think about spill containment

If your workplace contains anything that will spill, the best response is to think ahead, and have the right equipment, on the right scale, in instant readiness. A key component of having the right equipment in place is to have a spill kit.

You should consider your particular risks and prepare some form of spill kit contents checklist to ensure that you have all products that you require in anticipation of any particular issue. Typical spill kit contents include spill absorbents aimed at ‘soaking up’ any escaping liquids; this would include absorbent pads and absorbent socks. We explain a little more on how absorbent products work later.

For lorry drivers, if they are carrying ‘spillable’ materials then they should certainly think about an ADR Spill Kit in order to comply with the Regulations. This should include items such as PPE, drain covers and a warning triangle.

Preventing a spill

Preventing a spill in the first place is about good working practices. But think of Murphy’s Law. What if a spill happens, what do you need to prevent its spread?

As mentioned above, spill absorbents are typical spill kit contents. Spill Control Centre offers absorbents in a number of forms that feed into the prevention process and will allow you to start the clean-up process immediately to try and help you in preventing its spread.

These products may be spill pads and spill socks to suit the job, and are available in different sizes to match the size of the spill. Colour coding helps with easy identification in an emergency – for example, oil absorbents are white; water absorbents are black or grey, and chemical absorbents are yellow.

Spill pads are best for absorbing small spills or wiping surfaces; spill rolls reduce waste by allowing you to tear off only what’s needed; spill socks are perfect to bund spills or surround leaking machinery. All of these work in the same way by actively targeting and absorbing the offending spill; they are simply different shapes and sizes for use in different scenarios.

Spill Kit Contents

Cure: Cleaning up a spill

Absorbent granules can be added to a spill kit and can be very effective for any clean-up work after a spill. They should conform to BS476 Part 7, which means they’re chemically inert and fire retardant. The science behind them all is much the same, and is based on organic chemistry. That’s what allows these products to soak up liquids and convert them into solids that can be shovelled or swept up for appropriate disposal.

Many absorbent granules are based on cellulose – a complex combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and in one form or another the most common organic material on Earth. It’s a kind of sugar, and readily absorbs all kinds of liquid. Think cat litter, for instance.

However, not all absorbents are the same when it comes to side issues that ought to be considered. Some, for instance, are crush-resistant, which is important if they’re to be used in yards with a lot of vehicle movement. Others are non-slip, so useful for areas where people have to walk about. Furthermore, others may be approved for use by the MoD; others may conform to European Safety Standards.

Always remember, whichever part of the spill kit you use it is essential to properly dispose of the used products in a thoughtful and environmentally friendly way; whether it be used absorbent granules, socks or pads, the comment applies equally to all.

And finally…

Think insurance. How much more sympathetic might an insurance company be if a company is able to show that it took reasonable care to guard against and prepare for a spill if one should happen, rather than to be blasé about it and make no preparations at all. Spill Control Centre’s spill kits is a great place to start looking for the products that are just right for your business.

How to avoid fuel foul-ups in the garden

The arrival of spring and summer is likely to take many amateur gardeners into the unfamiliar territory of using motorized tools such as strimmers, rotary cultivators, chainsaws, lawnmowers, and hedge clippers.

Owned, hired or borrowed, all of the more ‘heavy duty’ versions are likely to be powered by two- or four-stroke engines, which require particular care in the storing of their fuel – and mixing it as well, in the case of two-strokes.

Storing and transporting fuel in a car, workplace or more importantly at home, present potential hazards, because petrol and other fuels give off vapour which are extremely flammable and must be treated with the utmost care. You may remember the case of the woman who died when decanting petrol from one container to another in her kitchen.

Storing fuel

060514 store fuel chainsawThere are only two types of container in which fuel can be stored: metal containers of up to 10 litres, and plastic ones up to five litres. None should ever be stored inside the home.

Containers must be:

• made for the purpose
• clearly labeled
• restricted to no more than two containers at any premises
• fitted with a screw cap or other secure closure to prevent leaks
• stored in appropriate secure storage to prevent vandalism or arson
• secured in transit to prevent spills and leaks

Decanting fuel

When filling fuel tanks there are some simple safety rules that must be followed:

• no smoking or naked lights
• decant fuel in the open air, rather than in a garage or shed
• use a pouring spout or funnel
• avoid spilling fuel onto clothing (Contaminated clothes should be changed at once)
• under no circumstances use the mouth to attempt to syphon fuel; it can kill if it enters the lungs or stomach. Vapour can cause irritation to eyes, nose and throat, and lead to unconsciousness
• take care to avoid spills
• do not overfill the fuel tank (fuel expands in hot weather, and vapour can build up)
• make sure the fuel filler cap and fuel container cap are both secure before starting to work with the machine
• store the fuel container out of the sun, and out of the way of children, pets and other animals

And finally, stout footwear, gloves and eye protection should always be worn when operating machinery of this nature. Happy gardening!

Guide to waste oil disposal

Oil is a highly-visible pollutant, with the potential to harm plants and animals, damage rivers, and to ruin natural habitats and drinking water supplies – and it accounts for 16% of all pollution incidents in the UK.

It clearly needs to be stored and handled carefully, with a series of spill containment measure put in place for those activities – but how should it be handled when it reaches the end of its useful life, and needs to be disposed of?
The rules are covered in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations. As you might expect, there are a number of answers to the disposal question, not only depending on the type of oil that needs to be disposed of, but also what part of the UK you want to dispose of it in – all of which are policed by different agencies. This at-a-glance guide will take you through the main ones in England.

OilEngine oil (domestic): Take this to your nearest civic amenity site for recycling. If you’re not sure where yours is, look at www.oilbankline.org.uk to find it. Do not mix the oil with anything else, like paint, solvents of white spirit. This makes recycling very difficult.

Vegetable oil (domestic): This can go in general household waste, either soaked into normal household waste or in plastic bottles. Some civic amenity sites have facilities to accept used vegetable oil, as seen in the picture. Don’t mix vegetable oil with ordinary oil. This usually makes it impossible to recycle the entire contents of the tank.

Vegetable oil (commercial): Caterers and fish and chip shops may not dispose of their oils in the general waste stream. The waste oils are not hazardous or special waste, but are subject to the Duty of Care, and should be collected by specialist contractors.

Industrial oils: These have the potential to be used as fuel, saving money and resources. Larger quantities of used oil such as hydraulic fluid or lubricants from lorries, buses or mechanical plant should be stored securely and collected by a registered waste carrier.

Cutting oil: Specialist companies will collect used cutting oils, and then treat and recover the oil. Emulsified cutting oils are highly polluting in water, and great care should be taken in their disposal; contact a specialist for advice.

Garages and workshops: This oil can be collected by a registered waste
carrier or (in England and Wales only), could be used as a fuel for space heating. However, you’ll need a suitable burner, a tank in which to store the oil, and authorisation from the local authority.

Removal of bund waste: Rainwater and oil residues can build up with oil in bunded areas. This build-up reduces the storage capacity of the bund and should be removed regularly by bailing from the sump or pumping. This residue is likely to be contaminated with oil and, as such, may be hazardous waste and could also be classified as special waste. Where classified as special waste, it must be consigned under the Special Waste Regulations, which can be an expensive process. It is may well be cheaper in the long term to provide a roof for the storage facility to top rainwater getting in there in the first place.

Oily water waste: Water contaminated with oil, such as that found in an interceptor, is hazardous waste and, unless the concentration of oil is very low, may need to be classified as special. Such waste will need to be dealt with by a specialist contractor and will need to be accompanied by a consignment note.

Used oil absorbents: Where absorbents, (e.g. sand, oil pads or booms) have been used to absorb a leak or contain a spill, the contaminated waste absorbent is likely to be classified as hazardous waste. It may also be special waste if it has been used to absorb oil that is itself classified as special. These wastes must be disposed of at a suitably authorised waste management facility.