Questions to Ask Spill Kit Vendors

Even though many suppliers offer spill kits, they are not all the same. Spill kits are an important part of food safety and risk management programs for food service organizations. Asking a few important questions can ensure that you are choosing
a spill kit that will help your organization achieve its objectives. The team at stands ready to answer these questions and any others you may have.

Are there any components of your spill kit that are intended for multiple clean ups?

All spill kit components should be thrown away after a clean
up. Any items that are re-used for additional spills can cross
contaminate other surfaces as they are moved and stored in
other locations.

Is the disinfectant safe for use on food contact surfaces?

Food contact surfaces should be rinsed with water after clean up if the spill kit contains a disinfectant that is not approved for use on food contact surfaces. Disinfectants that are safe for use on food contact surfaces will include this designation on product labels.

Are my employees fully protected during the clean up process?

A proper spill kit should contain a complete set of protective materials for your first responders. This would include a hair net, face mask with eye shield, gloves, one-size-fits all gown with sleeves and shoe covers. Without complete protection, your employees are at increased risk of exposure to infectious pathogens.

Can I throw materials away in regular trash?

This is a widely misunderstood area. If a spill kit contains a red biohazard bag, any materials placed inside this bag should be disposed of according to the regulated waste regulations appropriate for your various locations. Red biohazard bags are only required for regulated or biohazard waste.  Regulated waste is typically generated by regulated waste generators like healthcare facilities and research laboratories.  Small body fluid spills cleaned up as a result of an unplanned accidents may not be considered regulated waste.  A fully stocked spill kit with an EPA-approved disinfectant (with appropriate kill claims), suitable absorbent material and property disposal supplies will likely allow you to dispose of all materials in regular trash.  You should consult your local regulated waste rules to be sure.  

Is there enough absorbent material to handle large spills?

Absorbents like solidifier are an important part of any spill kit because they help limit the dispersion of pathogens in the air and help to make clean up of body fluids easier. Insufficient absorbent materials can lead to incomplete and unsafe clean ups. Spill kits should include enough solidifier to absorb at least two liters of liquid spills. Every 15 grams of solidifier will gel or handle about 1/2 of a liter of fluids.

Are the instructions bilingual and do they include pictures?

When seconds count, it’s important that your employees have
a set of instructions to follow that are intuitive, accessible and effective. Instructions that are printed on fluid resistant paper with step-by-step pictures or images are best. Your employees should be able to follow along quickly for safe and effective clean ups. Spanish instructions should come standard for those employees for whom English isn’t a first language.

Can I customize the kit to fit my needs?

For a variety of reasons, a supplier’s standard spill kit may not
be the best option for your organization. Your organization may determine that additional or alternate items should be included in spill kits in order to fully address internal objectives. Your spill kit provider should be willing to engage with you to understand your needs and develop a solution that is optimized for your purposes.

Does your kit have an expiration date?

Specific components of spill kits can have expiration dates. The disinfectant, disinfectant wipes and the absorbent material may have shelf lives. The spill kit should no longer be used past these dates. Depending upon the frequency of body fluid events in your organization, some kits may not be suitable options.

Is the disinfectant rated to kill norovirus, e Coli and salmonella?

Disinfectants are different and vary widely in terms of the pathogens they are effective against and the time required to treat a spill. It is important to understand what specific protections each disinfectant provides. The disinfectant should specifically state which pathogens it kills and provide what its EPA toxicity category it has.