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HOW TO CHOOSE A SPILL KIT

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

When putting together a spill control and prevention plan, it's helpful to have a variety of absorbent and personal protective equipment (PPE) products on hand and at the ready should a spill occur. There is the option of acquiring multiple, individual products to achieve this but a better, easier alternative is a spill kit. A spill kit contains everything one would need to handle a spill in one convenient location. A single spill kit has the capability (if chosen correctly) of keeping an entire operation in compliance just by being present.


MEI has a wide range of spill kits available, from general to specialized kits. Unfortunately, many purchase a kit thinking that simply having any kit will be enough. They often choose the cheapest kit (regardless of if it is inadequate for their site) or a more expensive kit that is overkill for their operation. This leaves them either out of compliance or having spent more money then they should have. If you're wondering how to not fall in either of these categories and want to know how to choose the right spill kit for you, keep reading. By the end of this post you'll have no problem picking out the perfect spill kit.


Reading through each section will help get you started in choosing the right spill kit.


Spill Type Consideration

It is important that you first determine what kind of absorbents will be needed in your spill kit. Oil-only spill kits are recommended for outdoor use. Universal spill kits are recommended for indoor use. Hazmat spill kits are recommended for facilities that have chemicals and aggressive liquids. Is your operation partially indoors and partially outdoors? We have specialized spill kits that contain both types of absorbents. If you want to prepare for a mercury spill, navigate to our mercury spill kits.


Spill Kit Absorbency

In order to be ready and in compliance, it is necessary to ensure that the kit has a combined absorbency between all of the products included to absorb at a minimum the amount of liquid being stored at your facility. For example, having a spill kit with an absorbency of around 25 gal./95 L. will not cut it for a facility that is housing multiple 55 gallon drums. For operations that have a large volume of liquid being stored, it may be necessary to acquire more then one spill kit.

  1. Determine the potential volume of a spill. The potential volume of a spill is determined by the sum of the amount of liquid being stored minus any secondary containment solutions that you may have in your facility. For example, lets say you have a unit that remains stationary inside a containment berm. You also have five 55 gallon drums that are routinely moved throughout the facility. Assuming that the containment berm has adequate containment capacity for the stationary unit, your potential spill volume would be that of the five 55 gallon drums which would equal 275 gal./1041 L.

  2. View the "specifications" section under any MEI spill kit to see its absorbency. Choose a spill kit that has at a minimum the equal amount of absorbency of your potential spill volume.

Facility/Site Size

The size of your facility or job site should directly impact your decision when choosing a spill kit. For larger sites, it may be beneficial to choose a "wheeled" kit for ease of portability across the site. Smaller sites may be ok with a stationary unit, saving you the added cost of a spill kit with wheels.


Environmental Considerations

Do you work around storm water drains? If so, your spill kit should contain absorbent socks for quick and easy containment of the spill. Do you work around sensitive environments? Then perhaps your spill kit should contain organic absorbent options that will not harm the environment. Considering the environment in which you work can be a great way to start generating ideas pertaining to the types of products that your spill kit should contain.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The safety of you and your coworkers/employees comes first. Regardless of how big or small a spill is, the first step in spill response is to make sure that you are protected and prepared to safely clean up a spill.


  • How many people will be required to respond to the spill? 1 person may be sufficient for smaller spills but 2-4 may be needed for larger spills. Choose a spill kit that has enough PPE for everyone responding to the spill. For example, if 4 people work in an area where there is a potential for a large spill, a spill kit with one pair of gloves will not be effective. It would instead be beneficial to get a kit that has 3-4 pairs of gloves.

  • What type of liquid could potentially spill? if the answer to this is general, common-industrial liquids, then gloves may be adequate. However, if your facility handles chemicals, then chemical resistant gloves, splash goggles, and disposable coveralls may be more appropriate.

By clicking any of the spill kits on our website, you can see what PPE is included in each kit.


Disposal Methods

If you dispose of your used absorbents on-site, then your spill kit should have adequate disposal bags. If you transfer your used absorbents off site to a disposal facility, it is required by law to transport your used absorbents in a UN rated overpack. In this case, one of our overpack spill kits is your best bet.



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