Creating your own spill prevention plan compliant with SPCC

What needs to be incorporated in my spill prevention restriction and countermeasure program?

Planning and executing a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan is expected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit the discharge of oil and other spills. An SPCC plan should recognize proactive actions to limit a spill from occurring or reaching the environment. In addition to meeting EPA commands, an SPCC plan can help limit slips, trips and drops from happening inside your business environment.

When forming your SPCC plan, make it specific to your facility’s layout, storage and key contacts. It should include:

1. Operating methods that limit oil spills

Employees are guided to implement spill prevention techniques for achievement with and around oil reservoirs. This section of your plan outlines best practices, recommendations and teaching methods such as:

    Storage instructions
    Management practices (i.e., always have supervision during the loading and unloading of petroleum products)
    Product recommendations (i.e., use pads, drip pans, and ducts when transferring oil stocks from a portable container)
    Layout maps (i.e., facility map that denotes location and contents of each container, tank, transfer pumps and piping)

2. Control measures to avert a spill from spreading to the environment

This section of the plan should recognize the kinds and locations of spill-containment products to control a spill quickly. For example, maintaining stocked spill kits at spill-prone areas, and ensuring this is documented inside your plan, can enhance the likelihood that responders will be able to handle a spill before it becomes reportable. It also is essential to keep a combination of absorbent products stocked and onsite, such as booms, pads and socs.

3. Countermeasures to contain, wash up and mitigate the effects of an oil spill that reaches the environment

When a spill is not contained from entering the environment, quick-response countermeasures need to be in place. Within this section of the plan, facilities should identify proper evacuation policies, authorized employees for cleanup and contact information.

Creating your own SPCC plan gives you the flexibility to tailor it directly to your facility while complying with EPA requirements. You can further enhance the specifics of your plan by arranging for a third-party organization to survey your facility, focusing on absorbent technology, products and regulations that could affect the needs of your business. A detailed plan can positively contribute to improved housekeeping practices and controlled spills and discharges.

Editor's note: This article describes the nonpartisan views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.
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