7 Biggest Mistakes When Emptying Spill Pallets

It is not uncommon for containers to leak. It can happen at any time- even when you've done everything right.

But what happens when there is a spill? How does the liquid come out of the spill pallet? This is not as trivial as it sounds: when emptying spill pallets, serious mistakes can happen. Here's what you should avoid doing when emptying a spill pallet.

1   Not doing anything until it is too late

In the event of a leak, you should take action immediately and without delay. If there is fluid in the sump, then this has compromised the spill capacity guidelines meaning that you have taken up the volume in the sump and it is no longer able to hold the recommended containment volume. This could be detrimental if you have a second container on your pallet/sump and it has a leak. Fast action is needed to counteract health or fire hazards.

Do not panic:safety come first! First of all, assess the risk posed by the leak and identify the spill liquid and its quantity. Depending on the risk assessment, the facility may need to be evacuated. If necessary, inform the fire department and other auxiliary personnel.

2   Not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment

Emptying a spill pallet should be done in the same way as cleaning up any other leaks. One of the first steps is to use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These include at least:

  • Safety goggles
  • Protective gloves
  • Safety shoes

Depending on the substance, other equipment such as respiratory or body protection may be necessary. Consult the operating instructions or safety data sheets of the material that is being cleaned up. This will ensure the safety of the persons cleaning up the spill.

3   Dumping contents of a spill pallet

When a spill or leak occurs, it is imperative that you clean the leak up. Dumping a spill pallet is not the correct way to handle the leak. It must be properly disposed of. Depending on how much the leak was, what the substance was, and how long the leak has been in the pallet will determine how to properly clean and dispose of it.

If it is a small leak, then you may be able to clean it up with an absorbent and then disinfect the sump with a cleaner that will work with that specific substance. Please refer to the data safety sheets for further information.

If the leak is larger, you may need to pump out the liquid into a new leak free container, or into a container for disposal. Once this has been done, you must inspect the sump for any damages or leaks in the sump. Note that storing inappropriate chemicals on a pallet constructed of incompatible material could cause failure of the pallet.

4   Draining liquids without a pump

When trying to drain the liquid, secondary leakage can easily happen. Even if protective gloves are worn, an unnecessarily large-scale contact with the hazardous material may occur. It is not necessary to take unnecessary risks.

Instead, use a pump or liquid aspirator to pick up the spilled liquid (if the amount of fluid is small, an absorbent may also be sufficient). Remove the liquid as completely as possible from the spill pallet and then check for any remaining residues. These can be taken up with an absorbent. Then the spill pallet should be thoroughly cleaned.

5  Using the same tool for all materials

Under no circumstance should the same tool (e.g. absorbent) be used for all chemicals. All pumps, liquid aspirators and absorbents must also be suitable for the spilled substance!

Keep the appropriate products in front of you, so that you have the right tool at hand in case of any problems. 

6  Applying unsuitable cleaning agents

Depending on which liquid has leaked, water or a suitable cleaner can be used to decontaminate the sump. However, avoid mechanical cleaning and do not use anything that could damage the sump's material (such as abrasives), as the functionality of the spill pallet cannot be guaranteed otherwise. 

7   Not checking other substances on the sump

Especially after a spill, you should thoroughly examine the substances that you store on the sump. If incompatible operating materials are placed on the bottom of the previous stored product, undesirable interactions may occur. In any case, check that the new substances are compatible.

Need more information or advice? Call 1-877-388-0187 to speak to a DENIOS expert.