Spill Control Guide

Spill Control Guide

How prepared are you and your business for a spill? According to the Environment Agency and the HSE, at least 7 out of 10 businesses aren't.

An effective spill response strategy goes beyond having the right type and size of spill control equipment. It also includes being aware of regulations that affect your business, ensuring employees have the right training to handle spills in the correct way and that both the environment and your employees are protected.

Our expert guide explains the various types of spill control product, their uses, and all relevant legislation around utilising and disposing of used spill control products safely and correctly. Once the right product has been selected, the user has a responsibility to regularly update and inspect their spill control products and replace as and when necessary.

Cromwell have a wide selection of spill control products from market leading brand Ecospill as well as our trusted exclusive brand Solent to ensure you are prepared in the event of a spill.

Spill Control Overview

The Significance of Spill Control Equipment

Despite significant advancements in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and improved site standards since the turn of the millennium, workplace safety remains a critical concern. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 29% of workplace injuries are associated with spills; these are slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

On top of this figure, the HSE further highlighted that 95% of these slips, trips and falls result in a broken bone or a fracture and spills associated with chemicals could cause burns, fumes can be inhaled and in the worse case, can result in death. The importance of having effective spill control equipment in place cannot be overstated.

The main consequential impacts of a spill are people, the environment and businesses. Just 5 litres of oil using water as a vehicle to slick, can cover the area of 2 football pitches! There is also several hidden costs to businesses as a result of a spill, including the pollution clean up costs, an increase to insurance premiums, restoration costs, accident investigations, compensation, fines and legal fees, reputational damage, increased fees for permits, EA costs, a loss of business and various external uninsured costs which can be up to 36 times higher.

These are just some of the consequences as a result of poor preparation in the event of a spill.

Risk Assesment

Conducting a thorough risk assessment is the first step in ensuring workplace safety. Identify potential hazards, evaluate the risks, and implement measures to control these risks. Regular risk assessments can help prevent accidents and create a safer working environment. Conducting a risk assessment for spill control equipment involves several steps

  • Identify Potential Hazards: Review procedures and tasks to determine if there are substances around your workplace that could be dangerous if spilled. This includes substances including acids, alkalis, coolants, fuels, mild acids, mild alkalis, petroleum, oils and solvents including petrol based solvents.
  • Observe the Workplace: Observe the people working to determine the existence of unsafe or potentially unsafe conditions
  • Evaluate Risk: Identify who might be harmed by those hazards and evaluate the risk in terms of severity and likelihood
  • Establish Suitable Precautions: Implement controls and record your findings
  • Review and Re-assess: Regularly review your assessment and re-assess if necessary

To find out more about risk assessments visit The Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Alternatively Our fully qualified Technical Safety Team are always available to support you with your safety needs and are on hand to help you choose the right level of safety equipment for you and your requirements. Ask Our Experts

Spill Control FAQs

What are the steps associated with cleaning up a spill?

The process of cleaning up a spill is split into an 8 step process.

  • Evaluate: Employees should be competent and trained in spill response. They must be able to quickly recognise and evaluate a spill – deciding which kit is most appropriate: oil, chemical or maintenance and whether it is non, slow or fast moving. By being properly trained they will be able to manage any spill effectively.
  • PPE: Select the appropriate PPE (personal protection equipment). If the risk and material cannot be ascertained, the highest level of protection should be used.
  • Eliminate: Find and eliminate the source of the spill. This might involve plugging a leak using the Ecospill drum putty, or simply picking up a fallen drum, using the correct health and safety procedures when doing so. If the drum has been damaged make sure to transfer any liquids to a new one.
  • Contain: Choose the correct absorbents to contain the spill. Then limit the spill area by confining, diverting or blocking. Overlap socks or booms (depending upon the size of the spill) to prevent liquid from running away. If there are drains nearby or there is the possibility of polluting a water source, make sure these are protected by using equipment such as the Ecospill drain barrier or cover.
  • Clean: Once the spill has been contained, cordon off the affected area and use the appropriate materials to clean up. Use absorbent pads and pillows to quickly absorb the liquid. Absorbent granules can also be used. Remove the used absorbent materials by placing them into a hazard bag and seal using the ties, and then dispose of accordingly.
  • Decontaminate: Check the area and dispose of any contaminated media that was exposed during the spill incident. If any stains remain then bioremediation is required. Pour water on to the stained area and add the solution. Scrub with a brush to agitate, leave for 40 minutes then clear the area with water.
  • Report: Once the situation has been resolved analyse, why it occurred. Create a report – especially if it meets reportable standards from OSHA or EPA. Reassess control measures and implement steps to safeguard a spill happening again. This will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Review: Review what materials have been used in the clean-up and re-order and replenish to ensure you have the correct amount on hand should another spill occur.

How can spill control products help with environmental compliance?

By providing effective containment and cleanup of spills, spill control products help businesses comply with environmental regulations and minimise the risk of pollution incidents. Implementing robust spill control measures demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility and can help avoid fines and penalties for non-compliance.

How do I dispose of used spill control products?

Used spill control products, especially those contaminated with hazardous materials, should be disposed of properly according to local council hazardous waste regulations - your local council can be found here - and in line with your environmental duty of care as an employer, details of which can be found here.

This disposal process often involves sealing used spill controll products in appropriate containers and arranging for safe disposal through licensed waste management companies.

What should I do in the event of a large or hazardous spill that exceeds my capabilities?

In the event of a large or hazardous spill that exceeds your capabilities, it's crucial to prioritise the safety of personnel and the environment. Immediately notify emergency services and follow their instructions while implementing initial containment measures to the best of your ability.

Professional hazardous material cleanup services may need to be engaged to manage the spill safely and effectively.

Spill Control Useful Resources

Ensuring safety in the workplace is a shared responsibility. To help you stay informed and up-to-date on spill control best practices, we’ve compiled a list of resources that provide valuable information. These resources cover a range of topics from understanding the importance of spill control awareness, equipment and preparedness, to selecting the right spill control product, to complying with UK regulations.

Shop Related Spill Control Categories

Safety Technical Expertise

When selecting the correct safety equipment, there are various factors that must be identified and considered under the management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to ensure you have compliant and suitable equipment. Without these, you could be putting yourself, your colleagues, and your business in danger. Our easy to follow expert guides can help you understand the different levels of protection and all the legislation that surround each type of safety equipment.

If you still have any questions, need more information, or have more bespoke needs, feel free to ask our experts. Our fully qualified Technical Safety Team are always available to support you with your safety needs and are on hand to help you choose the right level of safety equipment for you and your requirements.

For personalised support or specialised safety products, contact our Technical Safety Team at


or call our local customer support team on

0800 338 877

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