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Absorbents : From safety to hazards, absorbents soak it all up

Absorbents come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colours. There are many different kinds because they all have different purposes (see listings below). Because of that, it’s important you choose the right absorbent for the right job. For instance, there’s no point in using a Universal Absorbent Sock to soak up chemicals — it’s not designed for the job; but a HazMat Chemical Absorbent Sock is. To help as an added check when using absorbents in an emergency, those designed for hazardous materials are pink, while those for general spills (think oils, water, solvents, coolants and so on) are blue and those for oils only are white.

Another thing to think about in choosing an absorbent is what format would work best for your needs? It could be a mat, a pillow, a pan, a sock or boom, or even loose absorbents?

Each is designed for a different purpose. Pads are ideal for catching drips and soaking up spills, while the higher-capacity pillows are perfect when the situation needs more than a mat. A low-profile pan traps leaks, say from a drum faucet, while a pillow-pan combo will keep the run-off from a fully saturated pillow off the floor and away from your workers. Absorbent socks form a barrier that stops spills spreading from around a drum for example, or keeps it contained where it happened — even if that’s the middle of the floor. Some socks are designed for outside use, so are UV protected, and then there’s a skimming sock which you can use to see if your monitoring well has oil in it.

But sometimes, mats, pillows, socks and booms just can’t quite reach a spill. For these situations, you’ll need a loose absorbent. Loose absorbents made from cellulose, for example, absorb up to four times their weight in liquid, are lightweight and easy to clean up — but these aren’t their only advantages over not-very-porous clay pellets or cardboard. While clay pellets are cheap, they contain crystalline silica, which can cause the respiratory disease silicosis after continued exposure. Neither are the big, heavy bags user friendly to carry and pour on spills, risking further injury. Cardboard is light, but slides on wet surfaces until it absorbs the spill, when it becomes mushy and is as hard to clean up as clay when soaked. It usually can’t be recycled either.

Please look through the range above, and choose which light, absorbent, easy-to-clean-up products will help improve your workplace safety.

If you have any questions, such as how to choose the right style of absorbent, check out our FAQ’s and blog