laboratory and medical spill kits their utility and uses

Before diving into the details of biological spill kits and its uses, it is essential to know about the basic concept of spills and spill kits. A discharge is quite a commonly occurring massacre that can take up any shape. Be it an oil spill, chemical spill, or medical and laboratory spill, a spill is always a challenge. Any kind of spillage can be devastating and tends to change the entire scenario of the site. Spills can be of different sizes. Sometimes these spills are in a large shape like in oceans or seas. However, some spills, primarily occurring in shorter surface areas, are still controllable.

Nevertheless, whatever size or type the spill may be, it always comes with some deadly and hazardous side effects related to it. Among the most commonly reported spills, the oil spill in transportation mediums and medical spills in hospitals is quite frequent. Spills are just accidents and have control measures as well. The best approach to deal with any category of a discharge is to use spill kits. These kits are specifically meant to handle the after-effects of a spillage. Starting from the cleaning aids to sanitation, a spill kit contains all the essential equipment required to handle a situation at its best.

Thus, having a spill kit in spill-prone areas is not just a necessity but also a mandatory fact. However, just having a spill kit is of no use during emergencies. A piece of sound knowledge about the usage and regulations of it is more important. Managing any size and category of a spill is not an effortless job. Especially during the crises, things tend to go berserk. It becomes quite challenging to tackle the situation and implement the needful actions immediately. Thus, prior knowledge is more than just necessary. 

There are different varieties of spills that are reported here and there around the globe. However, they all differ in terms of location and the content of the spill. Depending on these two aspects, spills can be of a few types. 

laboratory and medical spill kits their utility and uses

Anti-static spills- This spill category is one of the most dangerous spills that can affect a large area. It mainly involves the spillage of combustible substances or atomic materials. Special anti-static spill kits are available in the market that can control this dangerous spill effectively.

Oil and fuel spills– This highlights the stubborn and massive spills that generally occur on water bodies during transportation events. This category of spillage is the most reported one and also has the most devastating effect on the environment. Oil spill kits effectively handle fuel leaks, oil spills, and similar situations.

General spills– Certain categories of spills are not that harmful and hazardous. A flexible and straightforward spill kit is quite useful in these easy-to-handle spills. They generally do not take up an ugly shape, and thus remains under control. 

Chemical spills– Chemical spillage in industries, factories, workshops, and even mines fall under this category of discharge. Spill during the work process in these fields is handled by using chemical spill kits. Often they are termed as the Hazchem spills from the first abbreviation of the Hazardous Chemical Spills. These are also pretty often reported. 

Laboratory and medical spills– This type of spillage are most frequently occurring in hospitals, clinics, and health facility centers. Apart from these, laboratory spills are also observed, which involves spillage in chemical or biological laboratories. Spill kits designed to handle these spill cases are termed as laboratory and medical spill kits.

These are some of the most commonly known spill classes that are quite frequent in day-to-day lives. Besides these, there are plenty of others occurring here and there that remain beyond the spotlight. Depending on the content of the spill kit, various spill kits are available in the market. However, spill kits are particular to the spilled material. For instance, a medical spill kit will only be effective in managing medical spills in hospitals and clinics. It will be of no use in an oil spill. Also, the spill kits’ size varies from a minimum of 8L to a maximum volume of 1950L. It highly depends on the site or the area that is prone to the spill. In the case of laboratory and medical spills, a medium-sized spill kit is enough to tackle the situation. 

Laboratory and Medical Spills- the Broader Highlight

laboratory and medical spill kits their utility and uses

There is a very slight difference between laboratory and medical spillages. In the case of laboratory spills, the content can be chemicals, bodily fluids, or hazardous materials used in laboratory purposes. However, in medical discharges, the content is mainly body fluids. Spill kits play the role of immediate control kits. These kits contain the materials to soak up the spillage and include personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety aids, all in one container. The entire process of cleaning a spill consists of a few pivotal points, which are the same in nearly all spill cases.

  • The content of the spill (Blood, sputum, vomit, urine, laboratory chemicals, microorganism in case of laboratory and medical spills).
  • Type of the spill- solid, liquid or aerosol
  • Amount of spillage occurred
  • Location where the spill has occurred
  • Potential risks involved in the spillage (Environmental or health risks)
  • Effective cleaning and discarding of the spill

Content in a Medical and Laboratory Spill Kit

The necessary components of a laboratory and medical spill kits contain the immediate necessities for the crises. They include:

  • Adsorbent( Acid/base neutralizer, or organic liquid)
  • Nitrile or neoprene gloves
  • Goggles
  • Brush and dustpan
  • Leakproof container
  • Disposable bags
  • Indication labels(warning signs and hazardous material labels)
  • Socks and shoe cover
  • pH indicator

Apart from these, some kits may have additional equipment. However, these are the most basic ones.

Based on these vital points, the entire cleaning process is carried on. The content of the spill, being the first aspect, is quite essential to be considered. In cases, where the spill is vomit or urine or blood, the health risks are nearly meager to null. These spills can quickly be soaked by using the large adsorbent provided in the spill kits. General adsorbent materials like towel, tissue, cotton padding can also be used in emergencies. The main aim is always to clean up the areas as fast as possible. In the case of medical sites, these spills are quite common in operation theatres and laboratories. These cannot be left open for longer as they may lead to infection, especially if it is body fluids from an infected patient. Proper self-care measures are expected in handling these scenarios. Gloves and masks are a must if the spill is an aerosol. Disinfecting the area post-cleaning is another crucial aspect. Lastly comes the disposal of the cleaned-up materials along with the disposable personal equipment.

In the case of laboratory spills, there are risks of other lab equipment being destroyed during the spill. Glass apparatus like test tubes, beakers, and hazardous items like forceps and needles can also remain scattered around the spill area. The first action should be to clean up space and make it less dangerous. Solid elements should be segregated and disposed of individually. Liquid or aerosols are to be handled separately. Lastly, space should be decently sanitized.

Disposable gloves, show cover, and goggles are a must while working with any laboratory or medical spills. These types of equipment can lessen or nearly nullify the chances of getting infected during cleaning. Hands and feet should be thoroughly washed after the cleaning to avoid any traces of infecting materials or chemicals remaining anywhere in the body.

The Basic Guidelines for Using a Laboratory and Medical Spill Kit

Emergencies can get extremely grave if the spill is not controlled or managed timely. There are risks of infection, health hazards, and accidents if proper action is not taken within time. However, handling so many things together at a time is quite challenging as well. In order to beat this situation, a necessary doable is to be acquainted and trained on how to use these kits when needed. Every laboratory and hospitals members should have proper knowledge about the spill kits kept at locations. Training regarding the same must be conducted regularly.

Moreover, safety measures must be the prime priority, when in crises. Personal protective equipment is mandatory while dealing with any chemical or hazardous spills. Chemicals spill in the laboratory are often dangerous and corrosive in nature. Thus, special care should be taken in those scenarios.

Another critical aspect of spill kits is the renewal and proper maintenance of the spill kits. These kits do not have a lifetime guarantee. Thus, regular restoration of the kit components and their maintenance or replacement is quite necessary. An expired spill kit is of no use during emergencies. The absorbent might get lapsed, which no more would act efficiently. The protecting gloves and masks might wear off with no use over time. These circumstances are very crucial to have a check on, to avoid a junk spill kit piled during an emergency. 

Lastly, the safety measures are always provided in user manuals of every spill kit. This user manual is very crucial to identify the potential risks of handling the spill kit. The rules and regulations of using the package are also provided inside the container. It can be of great help when an unmanageable spill occurs.