Handling Chemical Spills, Leaks and Explosions

Released On 26th Nov 2021

It’s estimated that 13,000 deaths each year are linked to past exposure to materials at work, primarily chemicals or dust.

Handling Chemical Spills, Leaks and Explosions

Storing or handling chemicals in the workplace puts all employees at risk. Workers like you could experience serious injuries (or even fatalities) in the event of a chemical spill, leak or explosion. With this in mind, it’s crucial to take steps to minimise chemical exposures in the workplace and understand how to safely respond if a chemical incident does occur.

Prevention Practices

The main priority when working with chemicals is to follow all necessary precautions to help prevent a spill, leak or explosion from taking place. You can contribute to that goal by:

  • Having a clear understanding of the chemicals you’re working with, including any hazards
  • Referring to a chemical’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or consulting your supervisor if you’re unsure of the chemical’s specific hazards and protective measures
  • Upholding all workplace policies and procedures related to chemical safety
  • Making sure all chemicals are properly labelled and safely stored in their respective containers

Responding to a Chemical Incident

If a chemical spill, leak or explosion happens in the workplace, utilise these steps:

  • Notify your supervisor and any other employees in the area immediately. Identify the chemical(s) involved and refer to its associated SDS to determine whether the incident is hazardous in nature. If the incident is considered hazardous or causes a fire or explosion, be sure to:
  • Activate on-site emergency alarms and call 999.
  • Instruct others to clear the area and follow all workplace evacuation protocols.
  •  Avoid engaging in chemical cleanup procedures unless you are properly trained to do so.

Watch our helpful video on ensuring proper use of PPE

If you have any further questions about chemical safety in the workplace, contact your supervisor.