Lab Safety Emergency Chemical Spill Procedures



Emergency Plans for Spills
(To Be Posted in the Hazardous Waste Satellite Accumulation Area)PDF


Preparedness, Prevention and Emergency Procedures for facilities where hazardous materials are used.

  1. General
    1. Take action to minimize the possibility of fire, explosion, or release of hazardous material to the environment.
    2. Ensure that the necessary equipment is available and maintained depending on the type of work being done (e.g. fire extinguishers, showers, eye washes, telephones, alarm systems).
    3. Maintain aisle space to allow unobstructed movement of personnel to access fire protection equipment, decontamination equipment or exits for evacuation.
    4. Provide the name and telephone number for the Emergency Coordinator for the space.
      1. Name: _________________
      2. Telephone number: ________________
      3. Then post a copy of this with the name and number filled in at the satellite accumulation area (SAA).
  2. Specific – Implementation of Emergency Plans
    1. Emergency Plans for Spills:  A specific plan and training in the plan is needed for the chemical you will be using. Emergency procedures and emergency phone numbers should be posted in the work area. Personnel working with hazardous chemicals should be able to answer the questions: “What would I do if this material spilled?” Spill kits with instructions, adsorbents, reactants, and protective equipment should be available to clean up minor spills. A minor spill is one that does not spread rapidly, does not endanger people or property except by direct contact, does not endanger the environment, and the workers in the area are capable of handling safety without the assistance of safety and emergency personnel. All other chemical spills are considered major. The following are general procedures for the handling of spills.
      1. Attend to anyone who may have been contaminated or hurt, if it can be done without endangering yourself.
      2. Ensure that the fume hood(s) is on and open windows where it can be done without endangering yourself. If flammable materials are spilled, de-energize electrical devices if it can be done without endangering yourself.
      3. If the spill is major, contact the Department of Public Safety (x66911), EHSO (x63198) and the designated emergency coordinator for the space. If the spill is minor, clean up can be performed as follows:
        1. Ensure protective apparel is resistant to the spilled material. Neutralize acids and bases, if possible using neutralizing agents such as sodium carbonate or sodium bisulfate.
        2. Control the spread of liquids by containing the spill.
        3. Absorb liquids by adding appropriate adsorbent materials, such as vermiculite or sand, from the spill’s outer edges toward the center. Paper towels and sponges may also be used as absorbent material, but this should be done cautiously considering the character of the spilled material. If you have any questions regarding spill cleanup requirements, please contact EHSO at x63198.
        4. Collect and contain the cleanup residues by scooping it into a plastic bucket or other appropriate container and properly dispose of the waste as hazardous waste.
        5. Decontaminate the area and affected equipment. Ventilating the spill area may be necessary.
        6. Document what happened, why, what was done, and what was learned. Such documentation can be used to avoid similar instances in the future. Major incidents are almost always preceded by numerous near misses.
    2. Emergency plans for fire. If the fire is small and can be easily extinguished using a fire extinguisher and does not involve flammable liquids or hazardous material in circumstances where the spread of the fire is likely (e.g. a fire in a trash container). Fight the fire and notify the Emergency Coordinator after the fire is extinguished. If the fire is other than small, activate the fire alarm and evacuate the area, notify the Department of Public Safety (x66911), EHSO (x68660), and the Emergency Coordinator for the space.
    3. Emergency plans for explosion. Activate the fire alarm and evacuate the area. Notify the department of Public Safety (x66911), EHSO (x68660) and Emergency Coordinator for the space.

Revised 1/14/2019