Spill Kit Check Activity

Use this personal protective equipment (PPE) activity to understand necessary first actions when responding to a pesticide spill and needed components of a spill kit.
Spill Kit Check Activity - Articles

Updated: September 29, 2017

Spill Kit Check Activity

Sample of a homemade spill kit

Learning Objective

Understand necessary actions for responding to a pesticide spill and the needed components of a pesticide spill kit

Suggested Audience

Adults or high school students learning about pesticide safety

Suggested Time

Activity can be facilitated in 10 - 15 minutes

Materials Needed

  • Timer (on Mobile Phone, Stopwatch, or other device)
  • Three 2 ½ gallon plastic bags with a zipped top which will replicate storage container for the spill kit. (Another storage container could be used if desired.)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Multiple unlined, chemical resistant gloves, disposable coveralls, eyewear (goggles), and rubber boots/booties.

All necessary spill kit materials (PPE, emergency phone numbers, absorbent materials - pads, tubes, spill pillows, commercial absorbents, cat litter, plastic shovel, broom, dustpan, disposal container - hazardous material grade bags, drums, or buckets, heavy-duty detergent, signage, and tape) could be used or displayed as an example for the participants, but for the sake of the activity, just the PPE is needed.

Prep Work

Make three spill kits.

Spill Kit #1 should contain an assortment of PPE, but only include gloves for one hand or leave out piece(s) of PPE. Pack a 2½ gallon plastic bag (or storage container if using) really full of PPE, remembering to leave out piece(s) and even including other materials if desired. This will demonstrate the importance of having a properly-stocked spill kit.

Spill Kit #2 should contain the appropriate amount of PPE - gloves, coveralls, eyewear, and booties. Leave the PPE in its original packaging, or put the pieces of PPE in additional sealed plastic bags. Put PPE into a 2½ gallon plastic bag (or storage container if using). This will demonstrate the extra time needed to remove PPE from packaging in a spill kit.

Spill Kit #3 should contain the appropriate amount of PPE - gloves, coveralls, eyewear, and booties. Remove the PPE from its original packaging and have the appropriate PPE in a 2½ gallon plastic bag (or storage container if using). This will demonstrate the appropriate PPE items ready to go in a spill kit in case of emergencies.

Activity Facilitation

Explain that a pesticide spill can happen when pesticides are accidentally released, whether from punctured containers, faulty equipment, vehicle accidents, or other incidents. In the event of a pesticide spill, a maintained spill cleanup kit is an important tool that can help to reduce potential damage. Spill cleanup kits should be kept at storage sites, in transport vehicles, and at mixing and loading sites.

To manage a pesticide spill, the four C's should be remembered - Control, Contain, Clean Up, and Communicate.

For controlling the spill, the very first step is to put on appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE can be obtained from the pesticide spill kit. Once PPE is on, the flow of the material should be stopped.

Explain to participants that this activity will examine the importance of a well maintained spill kit for taking prompt action when responding to a spill. Ask for three volunteers. Share instructions that the volunteer is a pesticide applicator who is aware of a spill kit at the site, but has never checked it. A pesticide spill is going to occur. The volunteer will need to open the spill kit and put on PPE, which includes the unlined, chemical resistant gloves, disposable coveralls, eyewear (goggles), and rubber boots/booties. Spill control cannot begin until PPE is on.

Be sure to have a part of the room or area be open, where the volunteer has to start at a designated point, go several feet to the spill kit, open the spill kit, put on the PPE, and then go back to the designated point where the spill is "happening." As the facilitator, use the timer to track the amount of time for each volunteer takes to get to the spill kit, put on PPE, and get back to control the spill.

Put out Spill Kit #1

Have volunteer start at the designated point. Say "Oh no, there is a pesticide spill" and start the timer. The volunteer will go to the spill kit and open it. While trying to put on the PPE, time should pass as they try to sort through materials and realize they do not have the needed PPE. They might come to the spill site with inappropriate PPE. Stop the timer and share how long the spill lasted while searching for PPE. Explain the importance of having a well-stocked spill kit.

Put out Spill Kit #2

Have volunteer start at the designated point. Say "Oh no, there is a pesticide spill" and start the timer. The volunteer will go to the spill kit and open it. While trying to put on the PPE, time should pass as they have to take the PPE out of its packaging. Once they return to the spill site, stop the timer and share how long the spill lasted while the volunteer spent time removing PPE from packaging. Explain how the importance of having a well-stocked spill kit that is ready to use.

Put out Spill Kit #3

Have volunteer start at the designated point. Say "Oh no, there is a pesticide spill" and start the timer. The volunteer will go to the spill kit and open it. The individual should be able to put on the PPE quickly and efficiently. Once they return to the spill site, stop the timer and share how long the spill lasted while the volunteer was able to put on PPE. While their time should be shorter than the first two volunteers, there is still time spent putting on PPE while the spill occurs, which emphasizes how critical it is to have a well-stocked spill kit that is ready to use.

For More Information:

The Penn State Pesticide Education Program strives to educate all pesticide applicators and users across the Commonwealth about pest management alternatives, including the safe, proper, and legal use of pesticides. The program promotes responsible decision-making, which will protect pesticide users, public health, plant and animal health, and the environment.