Spill management

If in doubt Stop and Shout! Take the time to plan where materials are stored. Have the right equipment and procedures in place to deal with any spills as soon as they happen.

You should always clean up spills as soon as

possible, please consider:

  • Staff safety
  • Preventing pollution to gutters, stormwater drains and waterways
  • Safe and prompt disposal
  • Think about how the spill happened and look to change the way you work so it is less likely to happen again
  • Regularly training your staff will ensure that they are familiar with your sites spill equipment and procedures.

Spill procedure

Ensure you know what to do if there is a spill on your site. The key steps are:

  1. Be safe
    1. Do you know what the spilt material is?
    2. Do you need personal protective equipment?
    3. Get the right safety equipment before you act.
  2. Stop the source
    1. Turn off the tap or valve, plug the leak or roll the drum over - if it is safe to do so.
  3. Protect storm water
    1. Confine the spill with sandbags or booms.
    2. Liquid spills: contain with compatible materials, so they can’t spread.
    3. Powder type spills: cover with plastic to stop them blowing around.
    4. Block off access to storm water grates, sumps and interceptors.
  4. Notify
    1. Tell your supervisor.
    2. Inform agencies such as the Fire Service or Environment Canterbury's Incident Response line. 0800 76 55 88
  5. Clean up
    1. Liquid spills: pump into a safe container, absorb them with appropriate materials or mix them with a compatible solid so you can sweep them up for disposal. Don’t use dispersants or emulsifiers.
    2. Powder spills: sweep or vacuum up and put them in a safe container.
    3. If the spill needs to be neutralised, get a properly qualified staff member to supervise. Otherwise, phone the Fire Service, a reputable waste disposal contractor or Environment Canterbury and tell them what the material is.
    4. Keep the contaminated area as small as possible. If it can be avoided, don’t walk through the spill.
    5. Clean up the area and any contaminated equipment or clothing after removing the spill - keep within the contained area, stop wash water or sweepings getting into storm water or soil.
  6. Dispose responsibly
    1. Dispose of contaminated materials and clean up gear or clothing as a hazardous waste or ask your waste disposal contractor to dispose of it for you.
    2. Do not hose spill, or tip wastes down the storm water drain.
    3. Re-use uncontaminated materials wherever possible.
  7. Restock and review
    1. Replace any containment equipment or protective gear immediately.
    2. Do a spill report immediately to find out how and why the spill happened.
    3. Check your spill procedure: do you need to update it to be better prepared?

For further info go to:

Industrial pollution prevention


Have a spill response plan and spill kit on site. Make sure everyone on your site knows where they are and how to use them. The above video demonstrates the correct way to manage and clean up a spill

Benefits of having an on site Spill Kit