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Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC)

What Does Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC) Mean?

A Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan is a type of plan utilized in the United States for the purpose of preventing spills of oil and associated chemicals used within the upstream (exploration and production) oil and gas industry.

The preparation of an SPCC is legally required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As its name makes clear, an SPCC must describe the measures that a facility has in place to prevent spills from occurring, to control spills that do occur, and to counter the effects of any spills that enter the surrounding environment.

SPCCs are considered to be relevant to worker health and safety due to the various hazards associated with oil and chemical spills, which include both exposure to toxic chemicals and potential physical hazards associated with spills (such as the increased likelihood that a worker could fall due to a slippery surface).

Safeopedia Explains Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC)

EPA guidelines for SPCC plans depend on the size of the facility. If a facility’s onsite oil storage capacity is less than 10,000 gallons, it may self-certify its plan and does not have to submit its plan to the EPA. If its capacity exceeds 10,000 gallons, it must have its plan certified by a professional engineer and submit it to the EPA.

The prevention portion of an SPCC primarily details site-specific best practices for work with and around oil, such as storage instructions, management practices, and employee training procedures. The SPCC’s control measures identify how to control a spill to prevent it from reaching the environment, and they cover both the training and equipment necessary to contain a spill. Finally, the countermeasures portion of the document describes how to contain and clean a spill that has entered the environment, including the identification of employees qualified to engage in clean-up efforts, as well as a plan for evacuating a contaminated area.

The situations that an SPCC plan deals with are highly relevant to occupational health and safety. In addition to the obvious safety relevance of having an evacuation plan ready, the training necessary for employees to effectively prevent, control, and contain spills must incorporate details of how to do so safely. The countermeasures portion of the plan, for instance, would need to comply with OSHA’s rules regarding the necessary training and procedures required for workers who handle hazardous waste materials.


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