Make a decision on whether to evacuate immediate area of the spill.
If the spill is outside of the containment and ventilation provided
by your lab fume hood, evacuation of the lab will often be necessary.
If you are unsure about the need for lab evacuation, get out. For spills
of solids or liquids, it will often not be necessary to evacuate other
areas, since labs with chemicals are normally under negative pressure
with respect to the surrounding areas. Take note of the identity and
quantity of the spilled material upon leaving your lab.
Determine the need for evacuation of additional areas. Unless the spill
is contained and/or incidental, you should contact Campus Police at
911. They can help you with evacuation decisions and can immediately
be in touch with Environmental Health and Safety personnel who can help
answer this question. If you are using a highly hazardous material and
have reason to believe it can enter the hallway, please do not hesitate
to pull a fire alarm if you feel the need for building-wide evacuation.
If only lab evacuation is necessary, post a sign, or better yet a person,
outside each lab entrance to assure others do not enter.
When you contact Campus Police at 911, you should do it from a
safe location. Unless you have persons to help you secure the lab, it
is best to phone from a location where you can see the lab entrance
to keep people away. Please provide Campus Police with ALL information
requested. Please remain at this safe phone (and give Campus Police
the phone number) so responders can talk with you directly about the
details of the spill. If it was necessary to evacuate the building,
please do so immediately and report to the area where emergency responders
are congregated (command center) and identify yourself as a person knowledgeable
about the details of the spill. Please don’t leave the command
center area until instructed. If possible, someone in your group should
contact your principal investigator to advise him/her of the spill.
For spills not requiring evacuation - Make determination
on whether cleanup can be handled by work area personnel or if assistance
is required. AFTER REVIEWING THE APPROPRIATE MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS
a determination should be made using the following guidelines. Unless
you know that the material clearly presents little hazard to you, you
should contact Campus Police at 911 who can put you in touch with
EH&S personnel to assist you with this determination. In most cases,
where relatively small quantities of spilled materials are present,
the lab is secured, and the size of the spill is not growing, there
is adequate time to make this determination.
Generally, the spill can/should usually be cleaned up by lab personnel
The material is low hazard (not flammable, corrosive, toxic, or reactive
The material is flammable, but of low to moderate toxicity, and the
liquid spill quantity is one gallon or less Shut off ignition sources
immediately, dike perimeter of spill, and cover with absorbent ASAP
to reduce vapors. Groups that routinely handle larger quantities may
wish to be approved / prepared to handle larger spills. Contact EH&S
515-6860 for details.
The material is corrosive, but of low to moderate toxicity, the liquid
spill quantity is less than one gallon in quantity, and the spill area
is limited in size.
The material is low to moderately reactive, but of low to moderate
toxicity, the properties of the material are well understood (e.g. friction
sensitivity, water / air reactivity, etc.), and the liquid quantity
is less than one gallon
The material is low to moderate toxicity, but no "ceiling value"
is noted on the MSDS, and there is no precaution about toxic effects
due to skin absorption. You must also know that glove materials are
protective against the material. See EH&S web information on skin
absorption and glove selection. Spills in this category are usually
limited to 0.5 gallon. Where EH&S indicates that respiratory protection
is required for short term exposure, outside assistance will be necessary
unless work area personnel are already trained, medically cleared, and
equipped with proper respiratory protection for the spilled material
through the EH&S department.
For all of the above, hazardous material spill control materials and
appropriate protective clothing are available and appropriate cleanup
procedures are understood.
As you can see there are a number of considerations. IF you have questions,
please don’t hesitate to contact Campus Police at 911.
Don't walk through the spill
Don't dilute the spill or disturb it in other ways without first diking
around the perimeter of the spill with pillows or other spill absorbent
If a spilled material has contacted any part of your body, start first
aid measures immediately. Shout for help and move directly to the nearest
eyewash or shower. Disrobe promptly if clothing is involved. Flush for
a minimum of 15 minutes whether eyes or skin are involved. Other persons
should assist (you will need help with eye flushing) and should contact
911 at the earliest possible time to obtain additional assistance
and further treatment.
Two persons should be used for spill cleanup. A minimum of two persons
must be used if the spill cleanup is considered an emergency by OSHA