The smartest thing you can do about fires is prevent them. Oil is prominent in the industrial workplace. Spilled/leaked oil presents three hazards: slipping, toxicity hazard, and fire. The source of an oil puddle is usually a mechanical problem (e.g., damaged seal), but an oil leak/spill/puddle becomes your problem if you are the first to see it.
Don’t ignore an oil mess (or spilled solvents, excess fibers, or excess dust). Unlike wine, spilled oil doesn’t get better with age. It just makes a place more dangerous.
If the oil mess is:
- Small, clean it up and then report it. Properly dispose of the oil clean-up items. Do not mix solvents with cleaned up oil (or oil clean-up items).
- Moderate in size, maybe you can contain it with a dam formed with oil pigs. Report the problem to the supervising operator before continuing work in the area.
- Too big to clean easily up. Maybe the big seal blew out on that big oil pump or there’s practically a lake in front of the oil-filled transformer you were going to work on. If possible, form a dam with oil pigs but don’t waste time trying to clean it up. Report it immediately, so a properly equipped crew can handle the mess.
If you notice leaks on equipment but no real mess yet:
- Report them immediately.
- If the leak looks major, begin containment work (e.g., oil pig dam).