Spill Response

Preparation

Have spill kits (supplies) on hand in areas where hazardous materials are used. Preparation of a spill kit consolidates spill control materials and personal protective equipment in one location. Tailor each spill kit to meet the needs of each work area. PPE must be selected based on the hazardous materials used. Store kits in a location where individuals can quickly gain access to items needed in the event of a spill. Hazardous materials users should know where to locate the spill kit and how to use the spill response materials contained in the kit.

Be familiar with the safety information in the safety data sheet (SDS) before you begin working with a material. Once the material is on the floor it is likely too late to go running for an SDS.

Assess the Situation

Before you attempt to clean up any chemical spill you should ask yourself should you be cleaning up this spill. Releases of materials that are flammable, toxic by inhalation or absorption through skin, or corrosive are particularly hazardous to you as a person. Put your safety and that of others in your lab first. Equipment is replaceable ... you, your lab partners, and your appendages and digits are not.

If the spill is relatively small, you have appropriate PPE and something to place the spill cleanup material, in you may clean up the spill. But what is "relatively small?" Relatively small spills are unlikely to be capable of causing significant injury to the person cleaning it up due to exposure (contact or inhalation) or fire. If in doubt, refer to the SDS; if it mentions respiratory protection for spills, strongly consider exiting the space and contacting the department technician or EHS immediately.