PestSure Blog

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Best Practices for Spill Control

The difference between a big spill and a small spill often comes down to your employees’ reaction to the spill when it first occurs. A spill of pest control products needs prompt, correct, and well planned attention. Most often, a spill can be a minor occurrence when a well-designed spill control plan is trained on and executed.

A spill can occur when you are mixing, applying, or just driving with product in your truck. The best scenario is to prevent a spill from occurring in the first place and practicing safe chemical handling procedures, good truck organization, and safe driving will all help to prevent spills.

At the 2022 PestSure Safety and Loss Prevention Meeting, Alan Harlan, vice president of service and quality control for Team Pest USA in Charlotte, North Carolina, shared his experiences developing spill control training programs and how pest management professionals can do the same in their operations.

The Four Cs of Spill Control

What is the most effective way to prepare technicians to follow proper spill control practices? Harlan says it is important to make spill control training a priority starting with the onboarding process, making it a recurring topic in training sessions and emphasizing it as an important part of your overall safety culture.

“It is important to take technicians into the field for simulated spill exercises and expose them to the reality that at some point in their careers they will have to deal with a spill control issue,” says Harlan. “The more we prepare employees in advance the more capable they’ll be in responding when that time comes.”

Harlan says Team Pest USA train its technicians on the Four Cs of spill control:

1. Control the spill immediately

2. Contain the spill to the smallest area possible and use soak up material

3. Clean the material up

4. Contact your supervisor, safety manager and let them know what is going on and can react appropriately

A Proper Spill Kit 

Having a complete spill control kit in every service vehicle, including management, will ensure that your entire team is ready to respond to a spill emergency should they be needed.

“You don’t always know what you’re walking into at the spill site and with spill kits in all vehicles you are able to respond appropriately and mitigate the situation sooner,” says Harlan.

Harlan adds that it is important to regularly inspect spill kits to make sure they are complete and that all equipment is in good working order. He suggests making it part of your regular vehicle inspection routine.

What items should be included in a spill kit?

  • Containers - garbage bags, zip seal bags, buckets, etc.
  • Brush and dustpan
  • Broom
  • Shovel
  • PPE - gloves, eye protection, footwear, respirator
  • Spill absorbing footwear covers
  • Cleaning agents

Spill Control Best Practices 

To Contain A Spill: In case of spills, avoid contact and isolate the area. To confine spills, dike surrounding area or absorb with sand, cat litter, commercial clay, gel, or similar absorbents.

To Clean Up A Spill

  • Read your MSDS for accidental release measures.
  • Dike the spillage and then pick it up with suitable absorbent material.
  • Place into suitable containers for reuse or disposal in a licensed facility. Spilled substance/product should be recovered and applied according to label directions whenever possible.
  • If application of a spilled substance/product is not possible, then spills should be contained, solidified, and placed in suitable containers for disposal.
  • After decontamination, the spill area can be washed with water. Collect wash water for approved disposal.

PestSure – Your Partner in Safety 

Founded in 1980, PestSure is the only insurance and risk management provider that is 100 percent dedicated to the pest management industry. It offers industry professionals a full suite of insurance, risk management, and safety training and education offerings.

PestSure provides insurance, safety and risk management consulting to pest management companies representing $2 billion in revenue, $750 million in payroll and more than 16,500 service vehicles. The program is administered by Alliant Insurance Services.

Call 888.984.3813 or visit our contact page for more information.

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