Chemical spills can jeopardize your business in a lot of ways. It endangers everyone around in many ways. It can affect their health and much more.
Among such instances are these cases noted in local news. For example, the chemical spill that took place in Northwest Atlanta.
It’s in such situations that you see the gravity behind chemical waste. More so in how it impacts health and safety. Today, we look at how a chemical spill can pose various hazards to your business and what you can do about it.
1. Environmental Damage
Chemical spills can cause degrees of environmental damage. These depend on the magnitude that they come in.
There are two types of spills when measured by the extent: minor and major spills. The way you contain them will vary.
With minor spills, the cleanup has little to no damage to the environment or the life around the site. It requires no report to management or local authorities. You also won’t need to report to the OSHA or the EPA.
A major spill has a more drastic effect as they tend to cause serious damage and harm to the environment. Cleaning becomes a complex matter. Also, it takes longer to correct and would require you to report to the OSHA and EPA.
Regardless of the spill severity, it can still cause environmental damage. You must always be cautious, even when approaching a minor spill. It means your business might have weak points in the handling of chemicals.
2. Poses Health Risks to Employees and Staff
Hazardous waste incidents can affect the health and safety of your employees. It exposes them to substances that would result in injuries. It can also cause serious health concerns both in the short and long term.
Chemical exposure can come in three ways:
- Skin contact and absorption
These methods of exposure can debilitate a person in many ways. Some would suffer from burns and skin and eye irritation, with the latter leading to blindness. It also affects the mouth, nose, and lungs.
Exposure also leads to immense damage to the respiratory system. It also comes with chest pains as your lungs struggle through the fumes.
The worst that could happen with chemical exposure is death.
3. Threatens Public Safety
Noting the dangers posed to staff, it also threatens the public. It’s noticeable when accounting for possible scenarios that come with hazardous waste.
Without the proper hazardous waste disposal, certain complications may arise. It can lead to both environmental damage and severe injuries.
We mentioned earlier the health risks associated with chemical exposure. When left unchecked, chemical spills will affect people outside your company. These hospitalized patients are likely to file a lawsuit against your company for the chemical-based injuries and fatalities.
Also, fumes from spills and leaks tend to ignite and spread. This can lead to fires that can cause property damage. If your location is near other buildings, it could spread further.
Four out of the top five chemicals have the most reports on injuries and evacuations. Among these are chlorine, ammonia, and hydrochloric acid.
The key to prevention is through the help of the HCI Environment. They can deal with containing and cleaning up chemical spills. It ensures no one without adequate protection is at risk of chemical exposure.
4. Imposes Economic Challenges
A chemical spill won’t only pose problems in both health and the environment. It can also bring out various economic challenges.
Some of the parties affected in this situation are owners of the tanker or pipeline. The community also suffers because of chemical spills.
The challenges involve the costs of repairing and cleaning up the mess. Closing down areas can also impact the flow of business in some locations. It affects the community’s income since some workers will have no employment until they reopen.
Some costs associated with a spill are indirect and can affect everyone in the long run. For instance, your company will have a massive backlog of activities while you’re doing a chemical spill cleanup.
Spills also hinder employees from fulfilling their obligations. At the same time, you’ll have patients that would miss scheduled care appointments.
Chemical spills impose challenges on every aspect. It casts a ripple effect that affects everyone aside from your business.
5. Reflects Poor Working Conditions
When a chemical spill occurs, it reflects your working conditions. It applies whether it’s a major spill that requires outside assistance or a minor one that you can contain. It’s often because of an underlying problem with the pipeline or the chemical containment chambers.
Chemical spills often happen because of a few things:
- Equipment failure
- Failure in following safety procedures
- Improper storage
The lack of training and equipment for usage and handling is also another factor that can reflect poorly on your company. It can result in various lawsuits and fines when the authorities prove that the spill occurred due to poor site management. Worse, you’ll suffer the OSHA and EPA’s penalties, which could revoke your license to work as a business.
How to Prevent Chemical Spills
The best way to prevent and reduce chemical spills proper storage and handling of chemicals. Follow the proper protocols in housekeeping. Do not forget to have the proper PPE for every person handling hazardous wastes.
Also, consider the human factor when building your chemical safety program. Sometimes, chemical spillage happens because of simple human error. Acknowledge this fact and you’ll have a better idea of protecting your workplace.
Prevent a Chemical Spill Before It Happens
A chemical spill can pose problems to both businesses and the community. To avoid this, you need to take measures in preventing it. When a spill happens, do everything you can to contain it.
Did you find this guide helpful? We also have other articles in our blog you can check out today. We cover a wide variety of topics like this one.