Chemical Spills



Department of Safety and Environmental Compliance


Chemical Spills

Chemical Spills will inevitably occur and personnel should be properly trained to recognize the hazards associated with the spill, minimize the spill and to notify to proper response personnel when necessary.
Initial response to a chemical spill should include:

  • Alert others in the area of the incident
  • Evacuate and secure the area

A chemical spill is classified as an Emergency Spill when it:

  • Causes personal injury or chemical exposure that requires medical attention
  • Causes a fire hazard or uncontrollable volatility
  • Requires a need for self-contained or supplied air breathing apparatus to handle the materials involved
  • Involves or contaminates public area
  • Causes airborne contamination that requires local or building evacuation
  • Causes damage to property that will require repairs
  • Involves any quantity of metallic mercury
  • Cannot be properly handled due to a lack or properly trained personnel and/or equipment to perform a safe, effective clean up
  • Requires a prolonged clean up
  • Involves an unknown substance

General Plan of Action During a Chemical Spill:

  • Don't panic
  • Alert other people of the problem and evacuate to a place of safety. If time allows and a chemical fume hood is available, open the face completely and turn on to help ventilate the area. If windows are available, open them.
  • Contact University Police for help in securing the area.(511)
  • Remove any injured person to fresh air and begin decontamination on them and yourself in necessary.
  • Remove any contaminated clothing. Flush skin and eyes for a minimum of 15 minutes. Use soap for final cleaning of the skin.
  • If flammable vapors are involved, do not operated electrical switches unless to turn off motorized equipment. Try to turn off or remove any heat sources.
  • Check MSDS for proper procedures before starting any clean up procedures.
  • Do not touch the spill without protective gloves and clothing.
  • If the spill does not present an immediate danger to life and health, try to control the spread of the spill. Try not to allow the material to escape into the floor drains.
  • NEVER assume gases or vapors do not exist or are harmless because of a lack of smell. Many chemicals anesthetize the nose and the sense of smell is eliminated.