Chemical Spill

Spill Response > CHEMICAL SPILL

Notes and Precautions

The range and quantity of hazardous substances in labs require preplanning to respond to chemical spills. The cleanup of a chemical spill should only be done by knowledgeable and experienced personnel. Spill kits with instructions, absorbents, reactants, and protective equipment should be available to clean up minor spills. A minor chemical spill is one that the laboratory staff is capable of handling safely without the assistance of safety and emergency personnel. All other chemical spills are considered major. Consult the Pitt Chemical Hygiene Plan for additional information.

Minor Chemical Spill

  • Avoid personal exposure or contamination.
  • Alert people in immediate area of the spill.
  • Review chemical information from SDS or other source before attempting cleanup.
  • Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves, and a long-sleeved lab coat.
  • Do not breathe vapors from the spill.
  • Confine the spill to a small area.
  • Use the appropriate spill kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases. For other chemicals, use the appropriate kit or absorb the spill with vermiculite, dry sand, or diatomaceous earth.
  • Collect the residue, place it in a container, label it, and dispose of it as chemical waste.
  • Clean the spill area with water.
  • Call your department chemical-hygiene officer.

Major Chemical Spill

  • Do not attempt rescue unless you have the proper equipment and training.
  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure.
  • Escort injured or contaminated persons to an emergency eyewash station or emergency shower.
  • Instruct the person to remove contaminated clothing and shoes.
  • Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate; keep others away.
  • If the spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources only from a safe location outside.
  • Send someone to call the chemical-spill emergency-response number.
  • Close doors to the affected area.
  • Have a person knowledgeable of the incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.