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Need the services of a spill response company? Ask these six questions to comply with the OHSA

by , 21 August 2013
It's crucial you comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act when you've experienced a spillage on your site. If you need the services of a specialised response company, make sure you ask these six questions to ensure you're on the right track...

If you experience spillage of a hazardous or dangerous substance in your workplace, you may need to call a spill response team to your site. Here are six questions the Health&Safety Advisor recommends you ask when you do, to ensure their capabilities and your own health and safety compliance.

Six questions you must ask before you get hold of a spill response company

Question #1: How do I contact a spill response company?

The Health&Safety Advisor recommends you contact these spill response companies:

#1: Rapid Spill Response

Toll free: 0800 172 743
Office: 0861 113 467
Email info@rapidspillresponse.com
Web: www.rapidspillresponse.com

#2: Enviroserv

Office: 011 456 5660
Email: info.ho@enviroserv.co.za
Web: www.enviroserv.co.za

#3: Drizit Environmental

Office: 011 655 0800
Email: drizitgt@iafrica.com
Web: www.drizit.com

Question #2: Is it always necessary to use a spill response company?

The need to call a spill response company depends on you. Your emergency response procedures may dictate you call a spill response company as soon as a spillage occurs.

For example, your response procedure may require the spillage to be large enough to warrant calling an external company (you give the criteria that warrants the services of an external company if your own in-house spillage kits can't handle it.)

Question #3: How much will it cost me?

There's no fixed amount and the costs depend on a list of factors including:

  • How much product you spilled. For example, 2 000 litres of diesel is classified as large.
  • The nature of the product. The type or product you're dealing with will dictate the costs. For example, to clear 1 000 litres oil spillage may cost less than clearing a 100 litres cyanide spillage.

Question #4: Is the spill response team registered?

There's currently no formal registration system in South Africa for this service. But the larger companies associate themselves with:

  • Chemical and Allied Industries' Association (CAIA)
  • Sasol Emergency Service Provider Audits
  • Institute of Waste Management

It's good practice to align with these associations, but it's not compulsory. However, if the response team is affiliated with these companies, then you can consider the company a reputable.

Question #5: Must the spill response company give me proof of disposal?

You must keep an auditable trail of all spillages, especially those that generated waste or polluted the environment. All your reports must include proof that you ensured safe disposal of the waste.

Remember, you stay responsible for your waste and you need to prove that you've indeed disposed of it responsibly. As the generator, you're responsible for the management of hazardous waste from inception until final disposal.

Question #6 Can I insist on a report of my incident?

It's necessary for you to keep an incident report of the spill and any other relevant information on the site for future reference. So you can insist on an incident report from your service provider.

A typical incident report should include the following:

  • Date of incident
  • Volume of spillage
  • Surface on which the spillage occurred
  • Measures taken to prevent further pollution
  • Description of actual clean up procedures
  • Laboratory samples of soil/water (if applicable)
  • Proof of safe disposal

Well there you have it. Asking these questions will help ensure you get services from a competent spill response company which will help you comply with the OHSA.

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