A chemical spill requires an adequate and appropriate response to protect sensitive environments and prevent pollution from spreading to nearby water and air sources.
According to Steve Keown, developing an effective emergency spill response plan is a critical occupational health and safety (OHS) requirement for mine site operators, especially those who handle mobile equipment.
“Whether it’s fuel, lubricants or coolant, mobile equipment has the potential to cause a leak when it’s in the field, and an accidental chemical spill that happens when working remotely can pose a significant OHS risk if a large spill occurs and workers are ill-prepared,” says BSC National Product Manager.
As for the severity of damage a spill can cause, much depends on how effectively the spill is handled by on-site personnel, warns Steve. “It will not be enough for site managers to hope for the best on these applications, it is essential that they prepare for the worst case scenario.”
In Australia, the Environment Protection Act 20171 (EP Act) and the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (EP Regulations) now require all businesses to take proactive measures to manage spill risks.1
According to Steve, few companies have invested as much in regulatory alignment and preparedness for worst-case scenarios as ENPAC, an American company that was founded on a simple principle: “Protecting the environment from hazardous chemicals by providing customers with high quality and affordable containment solutions.
“ENPAC spill containment products have been used by US military and government organizations for decades, and have only recently been introduced to a more commercial market,” says Steve.
“BSC’s team has worked closely with ENPAC Australia to provide our customers with the most appropriate solution for spill containment – taking into account potential spill volumes, different types of liquids and how to handle account of the surrounding terrain,” he explains.
“Preparing mobile spill containment kits on site is the most effective way to provide workers with a quick way to contain an unexpected leak, limit spill runoff and minimize cleanup costs. »
The range of flexible containment solutions manufactured by ENPAC are ideal for emergency containment of mobile spills and can be easily stored and transported by mobile operators, to be quickly placed under equipment in the event of a breakdown or leak. ‘equipment.
“For larger leaks, sites can prepare a configuration of mobile maintenance equipment with drive in, drive out capability,” says Steve. “In this case, the leaking equipment can be driven or towed over the spill containment and enclosed to prevent the spill from entering the surrounding area.”
Among ENPAC’s spill containment offerings are berms that can hold up to 33,000 liters of liquid; drip pillows; drip dams; leak diverters; and portable prowler pools that can hold spills up to 560 liters.
“Spill containment berms and duck ponds are great portable spill containment solutions for mobile equipment,” says Steve. “Not only will taking these preventative measures into account will benefit worker health and the environment, but it will also save valuable time and resources.”
“Developing an appropriate mobile spill prevention plan could be as simple as a standard product, or it could mean a day at the mine site for one of our team members,” Steve concludes. “We are working with our Enpac account manager to assess any areas of concern, drains, creeks or particularly hazardous products on site. We want to ensure that we provide the safest and most effective spill solutions for our customers. »
- Environmental Protection Authority Victoria, 1823.1: Mining and quarrying – guidance to prevent harm to people and the environment https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/publications/1823-1
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