A chemical spill is not something anybody wants to experience. There is an awful lot to think about when one occurs, and you tend to not have much time to work with. Is the chemical flammable, and are there any potential ignition sources nearby? Is it a corrosive chemical and is there any chance of contact with people? Is the spill likely to have a damaging impact on the environment?
These are just some of the issues that you need to address and, depending on the nature of the spill, you may not have the time or the resources to answer them. It is therefore vitally important that you seek the help and advice of professionals if you ever find yourself in this situation.
Of course, if your chemical spill happens to take place in an area that can be accessed by the public, it is of course a much greater cause for concern. Your responsibility is always to protect the public, so you must act quickly.
When there was a chemical spill in a hospital laboratory, the staff knew that they didn’t have any time to waste. They immediately closed off the lab and then stripped down their technicians to make sure that they were safe. After that though, they knew that they needed a team of experts to come and help clear up the spill.
They called Ideal Response.
The Ideal solution
When our team arrived on site they were greeted with a series of issues, on top of the spill itself. It was a busy hospital, with hospital staff having to carry on their duties in the vicinity of the affected areas. There was the added complication of having the general public in the building as well – the situation had to be managed very carefully.
The spill required a good deal of caution and careful planning. It turns out that a technician in the hospital had accidentally used 2-Mercaptoethanol in its neat form. Upon realising their mistake they had panicked and thrown it all in the bin, which caused the spillage.
While their reaction may have caused a whole host of problems, their initial panic was somewhat justified – 2-Mercaptoethanol is a toxic chemical, which poses many different health threats, from irritation to the skin and respiratory tract to more severe illnesses like vomiting and even, after severe exposure, death. To put it simply, our team needed to work quickly, but with extreme caution.
Naturally, full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was worn by our team throughout their time at the hospital, which included hazmat suit, gloves and full face mask. We are always prepared for working in conditions like these, so this safety-first approach did not delay our work in any way.
It was decided that the best course of action was to clean every affected area by hand. First of all, the main bulk of the chemical was removed and bagged up, before we then worked on every inch of the floor. When all of this was done, we ensured everything was stored correctly and was ready to be disposed of responsibly away from the hospital.
With a chemical as harmful as 2-Mercaptoethanol, you cannot afford to take risks, of course. Once we had cleaned the entire area, we then conducted ATP swabbing tests. This would then tell us whether there were any traces of the chemical left in the room.
Reassuringly, the results of these tests told us that the cleaning had been successful and there were no traces of 2-Mercaptoethanol left in the area. The cleaning had been a complete success.
We were able to completely clean the area and minimise disruption to the valuable work that the hospital were doing, while at the same time keeping both the staff and members of the public safe.