Does OSHA have spill kit requirements?

Although OSHA recognizes that hazardous site clean-up plans and procedures will be specific to the workplace, OSHA has published the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) that applies largely to operations regarding hazardous substances. These standards include a written and implemented safety and health program comprised of the following, as from the HAZWOPER informational booklet:

  • Spill kit contents“An organizational workplan,
  • Site evaluation and control,
  • A site-specific program,
  • Information and training program,
  • Personal protective equipment program,
  • Monitoring,
  • Medical surveillance program,
  • Decontamination procedures, and
  • Emergency response program.”

It is important that the hazardous waste program is designed specifically with the facility in mind. The spill kits kept on hand must include components that comply with OSHA’s standards for properly decontaminating and responding to the specific chemical or substance that is cleaned. PPE that is included in the spill kit must also meet standards OSHA has set forth regarding personal protective equipment.

Like any other aspect of workplace safety, OSHA requires comprehensive and documented training. Workers should be trained on the specific chemicals they will be handling in the workplace; look to OSHA’s standards on what will need to be taught. Employees will also need to be trained on where spill kits are located, the contents of spill kits, and how to properly use the sorbents included in a spill kit. Finally, training on identifying the corresponding PPE that will be needed for the spill and how to properly don it will be necessary.

As far as disposal goes, OSHA refers to federal, state, and local bodies for the proper procedures of disposing hazardous waste. Even though the spill kit should include a physical copy of instructions for disposal, employees should also receive training on the proper disposal procedures.


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