If your company or business manufactures, processes, stores or handles any type of chemical, you must have the correct type of absorbents available maintain a safe and compliant workplace.

Should a spillage occur, absorbents will allow you to effectively contain the leaking chemical rapidly.

But with so many suppliers offering many differing types, and styles, of absorbent the difficulty is then choosing the right one for the job.

Absorbents for chemicals are generally divided into three basic categories:

Universal – These are sometimes referred to as MRO or General Purpose Absorbents. These are probably one of the most popular types of chemical absorbent but they do have limitations. Universal absorbents can be used on both oil and water-based chemical spills, but you should not use them on acids, alkalis or other strong chemicals. As a general absorbent they are used by many companies due to their sorbent capacity.

Oil-Only – Oil-only, or Oil and Fuel only, absorbents are as the name implies, they are manufactured to specifically absorb oil and hydrocarbon based fluids. If you deal mainly with oil-based chemicals, then you should be looking closely at this type of absorbent.

Hazmat – Sometimes known as Chemical Absorbents, have been designed to absorb aggressive chemicals which universal or oil-only absorbents are not designed to handle. In general Hazmat and chemical absorbents will soak up anything, acids, alkalis and caustics and in addition they can be used on water and oil based spills.

Types of Chemical Absorbents

Absorbent Pads, Rolls, Socks and Booms are amongst the different types of chemical absorbents and all of them can be used in distinct situations. When using an absorbent pad, for example, you can use these to place directly on top of a spill to absorb a chemical, provided that the pad is the correct one for the fluid. Sometimes these are used as high-performance wipes, especially the lightweight oil-only pads. These are a good product to have to hand on a workbench so that they can be used as preventative measure to reduce the chance of a work-related accidents.

Absorbent Socks and Booms. These are typically used for larger spills which aren’t easily contained with mats or pads. A sock, or boom, can be used to contain the spillage and prevent it from spreading further and at the same time soak it up. Whilst both the absorbent boom and sock are essentially a permeable tube filled with absorbent, a boom is generally the larger version of a sock. Both of these items, no matter what size of business you’re involved in, are an essential absorbent to have in your kit.

SERPRO supply a large range of absorbents and spill kits - call us on 01622 236 303 to have a chat about what you need.Page3 content

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