Laboratory Emergencies

Spill Response

Follow these steps when responding to a chemical spill: 

  1. If the spill involves acutely toxic chemicals or chemicals of high chronic toxicity, poses an inhalation hazard, or cannot be isolated, contained, or controlled quickly, evacuate the room. 
  2. Signal to others to leave, close the door, and post a warning sign.   
  3. Go to a support space or adjacent laboratory. Avoid the hallway and publicly accessed areas.  
  4. Remove contaminated PPE and clothing, turning exposed areas inward, and place in a polyethylene bag. 
  5. If you can safely proceed in cleaning the spill, notify other laboratory personnel and consult the MSDS regarding the physical, chemical, and toxicological properties and hazards of the chemical to determine the appropriate response. 
  6. Do not attempt to clean a spill alone. Use the buddy system to avoid further accidents and to facilitate clean up activities.    
  7. Assemble spill supplies and use appropriate PPE including lab coat, gloves, and eye or face protection. 
  8. Take steps to limit the impact of the spill by preventing spilled substances from reaching drains and by isolating equipment and materials that may escalate the danger of the situation.   
  9. Contain the spill with absorbent materials. 
  10. Pick up any visible sharp objects with tongs and discard in a sharps container. 
  11. Clean the spill by working from the outer edges of the spill towards the center.  
  12. Clean surrounding areas (where the spill may have splashed).  
  13. Clean contaminated laboratory equipment as needed. 
  14. Place the spill debris and PPE contaminated with spill residue in a polyethylene bag and pail.  Label the container with a Hazardous Waste label. Place the waste in the satellite accumulation area. 
  15. Wash hands with soap and warm water. 
  16. Notify the Safety Officer of the incident.