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Where in law does it state that you must have a spill kit in South Africa

In South Africa, the requirement to have a spill kit is not explicitly stated in a single piece of legislation. However, various regulations and standards imply the necessity of having spill kits as part of broader obligations related to workplace safety and environmental protection. Here are the key sources of these requirements:

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) No. 85 of 1993

  • General Safety Regulations (GSR):

  • These regulations under the OHSA mandate employers to provide and maintain a safe working environment. This includes the management of hazardous substances and the implementation of emergency procedures, which would logically include spill response measures such as spill kits.

Environmental Legislation

  1. National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) No. 107 of 1998:

  • Duty of Care (Section 28): This section imposes a duty of care on anyone who causes, has caused, or may cause significant pollution or degradation of the environment to take reasonable measures to prevent such pollution or degradation from occurring, continuing, or recurring. Reasonable measures include having appropriate spill response tools and materials, like spill kits, to manage environmental incidents.

  1. National Water Act No. 36 of 1998:

  • Pollution Prevention (Section 19): This section obligates individuals or entities to prevent water pollution. Having spill kits is a proactive measure to prevent chemicals from contaminating water sources in the event of a spill.

  1. Waste Act No. 59 of 2008:

  • This act emphasizes the management of waste, including hazardous waste. Effective management practices typically include having spill kits available to address accidental releases of hazardous substances.

Industry-Specific Regulations

  • Major Hazard Installation (MHI) Regulations (published under the Occupational Health and Safety Act):

  • These regulations apply to facilities that store or use significant quantities of hazardous substances. They require the development of risk assessments and emergency plans, which include spill response strategies. Spill kits are a fundamental part of these strategies.

Standards and Guidelines

  • SANS (South African National Standards) 10228: The Identification and Classification of Dangerous Goods for Transport:

  • This standard provides guidelines on the safe handling and transportation of dangerous goods, including the need for spill containment and response measures.

  • SANS 10231: Transport of Dangerous Goods - Operational Requirements for Road Vehicles:

  • This standard specifies the requirements for the safe transport of dangerous goods by road, including emergency response plans that would necessitate the availability of spill kits.


While no single piece of legislation explicitly states, "You must have a spill kit," the combined requirements of occupational health and safety, environmental protection, and industry-specific regulations in South Africa make it clear that having spill kits is a necessary component of complying with legal obligations to manage hazardous substances safely and protect the environment.

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