In the event of a chemical spill, the individual(s) who caused the
spill is responsible for prompt and proper clean up. It is also their
responsibility to have spill control equipment appropriate for the chemicals
being handled readily available. There should be a sufficient quantity
of absorbents or other types of materials to control any spill that
can be reasonably anticipated. Vermiculite, lined 5-gallon pails and
limited spill control materials are available at the loading docks of
Lewis Thomas Lab, Frick, and E-Quad and in most science and engineering
buildings outside elevators on the 100 level. Click here for all EHS spill kit locations on campus. Additional materials may
be found in certain laboratories and the chemical stockrooms.
The following are general guidelines to be followed for a chemical
spill. More detailed procedures may be available in your Departmental
Chemical Hygiene Plan.
1. Immediately alert lab occupants and supervisor, and evacuate
the area, if necessary.
2. If there is a fire or if medical attention is needed, contact
3. Attend to any people who may be contaminated. Contaminated clothing
must be removed immediately and the skin flushed with water for no
less than fifteen minutes. Discard clothing or launder separately
4. If a volatile, flammable material is spilled, immediately warn
everyone, control sources of ignition and ventilate the area.
5. Don personal protective equipment, as
appropriate to the hazards. Refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet
or other references for information.
6. Using the chart below, determine the extent and type of spill.
If the spill is large, if there has been a release to the environment
or if there is no one knowledgeable about spill clean-up available,
contact EHS at x8-5294 or
7. Consider the need for respiratory protection. The use of a respirator
or self-contained breathing apparatus requires specialized training
and medical surveillance. Never enter a contaminated atmosphere without
protection or use a respirator without training. If respiratory protection
is needed and no trained personnel are available, call EHS at x8-5294
or Public Safety at 911. If respiratory protection is available, be
sure there is another person outside the spill area in communication,
in case of an emergency. If no one is available, contact Public Safety.
8. Protect floor drains or other means for environmental release.
Spill socks and absorbents may be placed around drains, as needed.
If there had been a release to the environment, you MUST call Public
Safety at 911.
9. Clean up the spill according to the table above.
Loose spill control materials should
be distributed over the entire spill area, working from the outside,
circling to the inside. This reduces the chance of splash or spreading
of the spilled chemical.
Bulk absorbents and many spill pillows
do not work with hydrofluoric acid. POLYZORB® products and their
equivalent are formulated for hydrofluoric acid.
Many neutralizer spill kits for acids
or bases have a color change to indicate when neutralization is
complete. Those for solvents contain charcoal to reduce vapors and
minimize the fire hazard.
10. When spilled materials have been absorbed, use a brush and scoop
to place materials in an appropriate container. Polyethylene bags
may be used for small spills. Five-gallon pails or 20-gallon drums
with polyethylene liners may be appropriate for larger quantities.
11. Complete a hazardous waste sticker, identifying the material
as Spill Debris involving XYZ Chemical, and affix onto the container.
Remember that the use of an adsorbent does not alter the chemical
properties of that chemical. Contact Steve
Elwood at x8-6271 for
advice on storage and packaging
12. Place the container in a hood or other properly ventilated area
of the lab until the next hazardous waste pickup.
13. Decontaminate the surface where the spill occurred using a mild
detergent and water, when appropriate.
14. Report all spills to your supervisor or the Principal Investigator.
15. Replenish spill control materials. If a building spill kit (blue
drum or gray 5-gallon pail filled with spill control materials) was
used, contact EHS at 8-5294 for replenishment.