Industrial Safety Essentials: Unveiling the Best Spill Kits for OSHA Compliance

an industrial worker carrying a container with Spill Kit written on it

What are the spill kits?

A spill kit, in its essence, is a collection of items specifically designed to deal with different types of spills, particularly hazardous materials, in the workplace. These kits vary in size and composition, tailored to address various spill scenarios, from minor leaks to significant emergencies.

In environments where the handling of oils, chemicals, and other hazardous materials is routine, the potential for spills is ever-present. It's about cleaning up messes and containing and neutralizing threats that can compromise the safety of your personnel and the environment. This is where spill kits come into play, equipped with absorbents, neutralizers, protective gear, and disposal tools to efficiently tackle such incidents. Moreover, spill kits are crucial for complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. OSHA's guidelines for workplace safety encompass spill response measures, making it imperative for facilities to be equipped with appropriate spill response kits.

In the following sections, we'll explore the types of spill kits available, what constitutes a well-stocked kit, OSHA requirements, and, importantly, a review of the best spill kits on the market.

What are the main types of spill kits?

When it comes to spill kits, one size does not fit all. Over my years in the industrial sector, I've seen a range of spill kits designed to tackle different types of spills. Each type of spill kit is crafted with specific scenarios in mind, ensuring that you're prepared for any spill that your workplace might encounter. Let's break down the main types:

  • Universal Spill Kits: These are the all-rounders of spill kits. Designed to handle water-based fluids and hydrocarbons, they are essential for workplaces where a variety of spills could occur. These kits typically contain absorbents like pads, socks, and pillows that can tackle both oil and water-based spills. They're ideal for environments where the exact nature of a potential spill isn't predictable.
  • Oil-Only Kits: As the name suggests, these kits are specialized for oil spills. The oil spill kit is indispensable in environments where petroleum and other oil-based products are frequently used. These kits feature absorbents that repel water, making them perfect for cleaning up oil spills, especially in wet conditions or even on water.
  • Hazardous Material Kits: For workplaces dealing with more hazardous or aggressive chemicals, these spill kits are a must-have. Chemical spill kit contains specialized absorbents and neutralizers tailored to handle acids, solvents, and other hazardous chemicals. Their components are carefully selected to ensure safety while dealing with dangerous substances.
Type of Spill Kit Ideal For Key Components Applications
Universal Spill Kits Handling water-based fluids and hydrocarbons, versatile environments Absorbents (pads, socks, pillows), protective gear, disposal bags General workplaces with varied spill risks
Oil-Only Kits Oil spills, especially in wet conditions or on water Water-repelling absorbents, protective gear, disposal bags Oil refineries, marine applications, workshops with oil-based products
Hazardous Material Kits Hazardous or aggressive chemicals like acids, solvents Specialized absorbents and neutralizers, protective gear, disposal bags Chemical plants, laboratories, industries dealing with hazardous materials


What should be in a basic spill kit?

Knowing what constitutes an effective spill kit is key to ensuring rapid and safe spill response. Here's what a basic spill kit should contain:

  • Absorbents: Pads, rolls, socks, and pillows that soak up liquids are the backbone of any spill kit. The type of absorbent will depend on the nature of the spills anticipated in your facility.
  • Protective Gear: Gloves, goggles, and sometimes full-body suits are included to protect responders from harmful substances.
  • Disposal Bags and Ties: Once the spill is absorbed, safe disposal is crucial. These bags and ties ensure that contaminated materials are handled appropriately.
  • Neutralizers: For acid or base spills, neutralizers can change the pH to a safer level, reducing the risk of harm.
  • Instructions and Documentation: Clear instructions for use and a log sheet to record incidents are essential for maintaining safety protocols and regulatory compliance.

For specialized needs, additional tools like non-sparking shovels, booms for larger spills, and drum repair kits can be included. The key is to customize the kit to your specific workplace hazards.

OSHA Standards and Spill Kits

Understanding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for spill kits is crucial for maintaining workplace safety and compliance. OSHA emphasizes the necessity of having spill kits that are readily accessible and adequately equipped to handle potential spills. This readiness for immediate response makes sure that any hazardous spill can be swiftly and effectively managed, thereby safeguarding the well-being of employees and the environment.

Moreover, OSHA spill kit requirements extend beyond the mere presence of spill kits. There is a significant focus on the training of employees in the proper use of these kits. This training aspect is integral, as it ensures that all personnel are prepared to act decisively and correctly in the event of a spill. Additionally, maintaining proper documentation of spill incidents and the responses undertaken is vital for regulatory compliance and for improving safety protocols.

Another critical aspect under OSHA's guidelines is the regular inspection and maintenance of spill kits. Such practices ensure that the kits are always in optimal condition, ready for use at a moment's notice. This regular upkeep not only keeps the workplace aligned with OSHA standards but also enhances overall operational efficiency. A well-maintained spill kit minimizes potential work interruptions and underscores a commitment to a robust safety culture within the workplace.

Identifying the Best: Key Features of Top-Notch Spill Kits

In my experience, the best spill kits on the market share certain characteristics that set them apart. When selecting a spill kit, consider these key features:

  • Durability and Reliability: The materials used in the spill kit must be durable enough to handle the specific types of spills and environmental conditions of your workplace. The kit should be reliable over time, maintaining its integrity under various storage and use conditions.
  • Absorbency Rates and Material Compatibility: High-quality spill kits have high absorbency rates, ensuring that spills are contained and cleaned up efficiently. Additionally, the materials in the kit should be compatible with the types of substances they are intended to absorb – whether oil, chemicals, or water-based fluids.
  • Ease of Use and Accessibility: A spill kit that is complicated to use can slow down response times. Kits should be straightforward and user-friendly, with clear instructions. They should also be easily accessible in locations where spills are most likely to occur.

Top 6 Spill Kits in the Industry

New Pig Spill Kit in Bucket

The New Pig Spill Kit in a Bucket is designed for quick and efficient spill response with a focus on user-friendliness and reliability. Its sturdy polyethylene bucket doubles as a temporary storage for used absorbents, and the easy-open, screw-on lid ensures swift access to the contents. The kit includes PIG Blue Socks and PIG Mats, known for their high absorbency rates and effectiveness in stopping spills from spreading.

Durable polyethylene bucket for reliable containment and storage.
High absorbency rate with PIG Blue Socks and Mats.
Easy access to contents with a prepacked container.

Limited in terms of variety of absorbents.
May not be sufficient for larger spills.

Brady Spill Allwik Portable Universal Spill Kits

This versatile spill kit from Brady is ideal for handling a wide range of spills, including water-based, petroleum-based, and non-aggressive chemical fluids. The grey absorbent pads and socks are highly effective, and the kit's portable yellow PVC bag enhances visibility and quick access in emergency situations. It includes absorbent pads, socks, a disposable bag, and a pair of nitrile gloves, ensuring a comprehensive response to spills.

Versatile absorbents suitable for various types of spills.
High visibility and easily portable PVC bag.
Fast response to spills with easy accessibility.

The number of absorbents may be insufficient for larger spills.
Limited specialized components for specific types of chemical spills.

Oil-Dri Compact Universal Spill Kit

Oil-Dri's Compact Universal 5-Gallon Bucket Spill Kit is a comprehensive solution for a variety of spills. These universal spill kits include absorbent socks, pads, a disposal bag, and a pail, with a total absorption capacity of 5 gallons. The absorbent socks are flexible and effective in containing spills, while the perforated pads are made from chemically inert polypropylene, ensuring strength and high absorbency.

Compact and easy to transport with a 5-gallon bucket.
Flexible absorbent socks ideal for wrapping around spills.
Effective for both water-based and oil-based nonacid liquids.

Limited absorption capacity for larger spills.
The kit may lack specialized tools for specific spill scenarios.

Stardust Universal Spill Kit

The Stardust Universal Spill Kits are a versatile and efficient solution for various spill scenarios. It boasts revolutionary moisture-wicking, super-absorbent materials capable of absorbing many times their weight, making it highly effective for a range of fluids. The kit is portable and lightweight, offering convenience and ease of use. It includes a yellow duffle for storage, protective equipment, absorbent pads, sorbent socks, disposal bags, and gloves.

High absorbency rate, effectively managing a variety of spills.
Portable and lightweight design for easy handling and quick response.
Versatile use, suitable for vehicle storage or placement in spill-prone areas.

Limited in terms of volume for larger spills.
The duffle bag may not be as durable as hard-shelled containers.

SpillTech Universal Spill Kit

This kit from SpillTech is an all-in-one solution, featuring universal absorbents capable of handling various liquids, including oils, coolants, and solvents. Its standout feature is the exceptional absorbency rate, absorbing up to 25.6 gallons per package. The 30-gallon overpack salvage drum is robust and leakproof, ensuring safe transport and storage of spill response materials. The kit includes a comprehensive array of items, such as absorbent pads, socks, pillows, protective gear, and an emergency response guidebook.

Exceptional absorbency, handling up to 25.6 gallons of liquid.
Durable and leakproof 30-gallon salvage drum for secure storage.
Comprehensive kit contents for a thorough spill response.

The size of the drum may limit portability.
May be more expensive due to its extensive contents and capacity.

AWF Universal Spill Kit

The AWF PRO 30 Gallon Universal Spill Kit is designed for versatile spill control, offering an impressive combined absorbency of 35 gallons. It's ideal for a wide range of jobs, from oil and water spills to more complex chemical spills. The kit is packed with sorbent pads, socks, pillows, and necessary accessories, all stored in a DOT-approved 30-gallon overpack drum. Its grey universal sorbents are capable of absorbing various substances, providing an all-in-one solution for spill containment.

High combined absorbency of 35 gallons, suitable for substantial spills.
Compact and lightweight, yet robust enough for most situations.
Excellent value with a comprehensive range of contents.

The bulkiness of the 30-gallon drum may hinder immediate portability.

Practical Guide: When and How to Use a Spill Kit

Knowing when and how to use spill kits is as important as having them. Spill kits should be deployed in various scenarios, from minor leaks of oils or chemicals to more significant spills. The key is to act quickly and efficiently. Best practices include:

  • Immediate Response: As soon as a spill occurs, it's crucial to act swiftly to minimize its spread and impact.
  • Using the Right Kit: Select the appropriate spill kit for the type of substance spilled – whether it's oil, chemical, or a general spill.
  • Follow the Instructions: Each kit comes with specific instructions. It's important to follow these closely to ensure effective spill management.

Maintenance and replenishment are also crucial aspects. Regular checks should be conducted to ensure that all components of the kit are in good condition and ready for use. If any part of the kit is used or expires, it should be promptly replenished. This ensures that the kit is always ready for any emergency.


What are the 2 main types of spill kits?

The two main types of spill kits are the Universal/General Purpose Kits and the Oil-Only Kits. Universal Kits are designed for a broad range of spills, including water-based fluids and hydrocarbons, while Oil-Only Kits are specifically for oil and petroleum-based spills.

Does OSHA require a spill kit?

Yes, OSHA requires workplaces that handle hazardous materials to have appropriate spill response equipment, including spill kits. The requirements ensure that facilities are prepared to safely manage spills and protect workers.

What is the best material for absorbing a spill?

The best material for absorbing a spill depends on the type of spill. For oil spills, hydrophobic materials like polypropylene are effective as they absorb oil but repel water. For chemical spills, specialized absorbents that can neutralize or contain the chemical are ideal.

What is a spill kit at a gas station?

A spill kit at a gas station typically includes materials specifically designed to handle fuel and oil spills. These usually contain absorbents like pads or granules, protective equipment, and disposal bags, tailored to quickly and safely manage common spills encountered at gas stations.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


Shop Tradesafe Products

Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.