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Industry standard for spill control kits launched

26 May, 2016

AusSpill Association members have adopted an industry standard for spill kit colouring and labelling, to provide industry and consumers with easier and safer identification – to be phased in by late 2017.

Established in 2012, AusSpill Association (AA) represents Australian spill control manufacturers, resellers/wholesalers & importers as a single voice to government, the public and the environment protection industry.

Launching the industry standard recently, AA Chairman Trevor Prentice said the standard would be phased in over the next 12 - 18 months.

He said spill kits currently consist of a confusing variety of wheelie bin & lid colours which have varying identification labels. AusSpill’s research showed that on many occasions, the incorrect spill kit was being selected. Key examples of the issues created by the lack of a spill kit standard include:

  • On a site where there are similar coloured bins to the spill kit (often used for waste or other storage) the recognition of a spill kit would be by reading the label only. This presents difficulty in cases where English is not easily understood.
  • Where a spill kit has not been correctly identified, its use on an incompatible fluid can cause safety and environmental risks or non-performance.
  • Current spill kit label terminology can vary and be confusing for the user. For example the terms “General Purpose” and “Universal” are both used to describe a similar type of spill kit and users often misunderstand when and how these spill kits should be used.

Prentice said the new industry standard overcomes these problems. The standard shall require that all wheelie bin spill kits will have a lime green base, with individual bin applications being identified by the following new lid colours:

  • Oil & Fuel Only: white
  • General Purpose: grey
  • Hazchem: yellow

The lid colours have been selected to match the absorbent colours used by most suppliers for the purposes described. Labelling of all wheelie bin spill kits are required the meet the requirements of AS 1319 - 1994, ensuring that the words ‘spill kit’ and the application of the kit i.e. ‘General Purpose’, are clearly visible.

Prentice said the benefits of the new standard include:

  • Colour Coding: having a recognisable colour for a spill kit and industry standard labelling which enables the user to have more confidence that the right kit had been selected
  • Improved Identification: adopting industry agreed terms for identifying the purpose or type of spill kit so that the fluids that the kit is suitable for, are more easily understood by the user, which will remove much of the existing confusion and increase safety
  • Standardisation: the creation of this Australian spill kit standard brings important emergency response equipment into line with similar standardisation that has been created for Fire Extinguishers, which currently have a colour standard for recognition and type.

AusSpill Association looks forward to developing further improvements to spill response equipment to aid consumers understanding and safety, Prentice concluded.

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