The explosive dangers associated with spilling Flammable Materials can be are far greater than those associated with spilling general non-flammable materials, simply because of the increased release of flammable gases from the exposed surface area of the chemical.
Imagine a 5 litre petrol can with a 40mm diameter fill cap, the amount of flammable gas released that you can smell through this relatively small opening is quite low, now imagine this 5 litres poured onto the floor, the smell is now considerably higher and as the flammable liquid travels, more and more flammable gas is released into the atmosphere.
Being able to understand factors such as this are important when working outside of Zoned areas. Isolating power to electrical equipment to remove potential sources of ignition can sometimes itself generate a spark and thus ignite gases.
Spill absorption must be quick - at the same time dangers of asphyxiation - continued gas release - ventilation - ignition sources - evacuation and many other things must be considered.
But what about the differing levels of response required between chemical groups? What is the spill response procedure for Acetone? Verses Chloroform?
Naturally, once the correct PPE / RPE is worn, with Acetone, it is easy to understand that the response must be quick, the spill contained and the absorbing materials bagged and sealed to prevent the further release of flammable vapour. When compared to Chloroform, Evacuation is the primary concern, once everyone is safety out of the area, then with the responder wearing full PPE and BA equipment, clean-up can begin.
Spill training is far more about understanding the chemicals than understanding how to clean up a spill.
Consideration should also be given to the type of Absorbent to be used. Oil Only, Acid or Universal?