13 Sep 2019
If you work in factories, warehousing, workshops, or laboratories, you have come across the term ‘bunding.’ You probably also know that bunding relates to spill containment. Bunding can be a fully integrated solution with special processes and dedicated tools and equipment. Bunding is regulated by the various state and territory Environmental Protection Authorities (EPA), as containing chemical spills is of paramount importance for worker and environmental safety.
Bunding is simply defined as a method of containing spills and leaks from stored or used liquids in the workplace. These liquids are often chemicals that are hazardous or harmful in nature. They may be corrosive, toxic, or flammable liquids. If your workplace carries any of these liquids, you require bunding of some sort installed or accessible to your employees.
How to assess what bunding is required
Like any safety precaution, your business will need to conduct a risk assessment to figure out what kind of bunding is required. The type of bunding you employ can depend on:
- The type of liquid your workplace uses,
- The quantity of the liquid,
- And the length of time your company holds on to these liquids in storage.
All three factors can enter into your risk assessment. Other risks you must consider is seepage or leaking into wastewater or stormwater, which can harm the plant and animal environment.
EPA bunding guidelines
The EPA for your state or territory has guidelines when it comes to bunding. Bunding guidelines extend to drainage, construction, storage, and maintenance.
According to the EPA Victoria guideline, floor slabs and bund walls must ‘be impervious to and compatible with the liquids to be contained.’ If you are storing corrosive material, the concrete must be of a standard that will withstand corrosion or have an acid-resistant coating applied.
Pipes may be installed through bunds if it is essential; vehicles may also be allowed to pass over bunds if the bund itself is of enough height.
According to the EPA again, ‘Tanks and drums should be separated from the inner edge of the bund crest by a distance of half the height of the tanks or stack of drums on flat ground.’ For smaller quantities of liquid, below 1,200L, a factory or warehouse can provide an alternative to a permanent bund fixture. These may be portable or temporary bunds and/or anti-spill kits that use absorbent material to capture liquid and allow for proper storage.
Employee training and safety
Bund installation and use is all well and good, however is nothing without proper employee training and safety measures. Employees should conduct preventative maintenance on a regular schedule, provide training in anti-spill measures, and know how to handle emergency spill situations. Security of your liquid containers, hoses, and valves should also be a top priority. Bunding should be considered a last resort to containing spills – the aim is to prevent spills from ever happening.
For more information on bunding and anti-spill kits, contact Backsafe Australia on 1300 305 314 for a no obligation quote or consultation.
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