Laboratory Spill Response Guidelines

Click the links below for spill response guidelines:

Personal Injury

Radiation

Chemical

Biological

Fire 

Personal Injury Response

Hazardous Material Splashed in Eye

  1. Immediately rinse eyeball and inner surface of eyelid with water continuously for 15 minutes.   
  2. Forcibly hold eye open to ensure effective wash behind eyelids.   
  3. Obtain medical attention.   
  4. Report incident to supervisor.

Radiological Spill on Body

  1. Remove contaminated clothing.   
  2. Rinse exposed area thoroughly with water.   
  3. Obtain medical attention, if necessary.   
  4. Report incident to supervisor and Radiation Safety Officer.

Chemical Spill on Body

  1. Flood exposed area with running water from faucet or safety shower for approximately 15 minutes.   
  2. Remove contaminated clothing at once.   
  3. Make sure chemical has not accumulated in shoes.   
  4. Obtain medical attention, if necessary.   
  5. Report incident to supervisor.

Emergencies Involving Fire on Clothing

  1. Roll person around on floor to smother flame, or drench with water if safety shower is immediately available.   
  2. Obtain medical attention, if necessary.   
  3. Report incident to supervisor.

Biological Spill on Body

  1. Remove contaminated clothing.   
  2. Wash exposed area with soap and water for approximately 15 minutes.   
  3. Obtain medical attention, if necessary.   
  4. Report incident to supervisor.

Minor Cuts and Puncture Wounds

  1. Wash injury with soap and water for several minutes.   
  2. Obtain medical attention.   
  3. Report incident to supervisor.

Radiation Spill Response

Spreading of radiation beyond the spill area can easily occur by the movement of personnel involved in the spill or cleanup effort. Prevent spread by confining movement of personnel until they have been monitored and found free of contamination. A minor radiation spill is one that the laboratory staff is capable of handling safely without the assistance of safety and emergency personnel. All other radiation spills are considered major.

Minor Radiation Spill

  1. Alert people in immediate area of spill.   
  2. Notify Radiation Safety Officer (459-3911, 459-2553, 911).   
  3. Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, disposable gloves, shoe covers, and long-sleeve lab coat.   
  4. Place absorbent paper towels over liquid spill. Place towels dampened with water over spills of solid materials.   
  5. Using forceps, place towels in plastic bag. Dispose in radiation waste container.   
  6. Monitor area, hands, and shoes for contamination with an appropriate survey meter or method. Repeat cleanup until contamination is no longer detected.

Major Radiation Spill

  1. Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure.   
  2. Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.   
  3. Have potentially contaminated personnel stay in one area until they have been monitored and shown to be free of contamination.   
  4. Call Radiation Spill Emergency Response number (459-3911 or 911).   
  5. Close doors and prevent entrance into affected area.   
  6. Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.

Chemical Spill Response

The range and quantity of hazardous substances used in laboratories requires prior planning to respond safely 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.

Minor Chemical Spill

  1. Alert people in immediate area of spill.   
  2. Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves, and long-sleeve lab coat.   
  3. Avoid breathing vapors. Respiratory protection should not be required for a minor spill.   
  4. Confine spill to small area.   
  5. Use appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases. Collect residue, place in container, and dispose as chemical waste.   
  6. For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand, or diatomaceous earth. Collect residue, place in container and dispose as chemical waste.   
  7. Clean spill area with water.

Major Chemical Spill (Dial 911)

  1. Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure.   
  2. Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.   
  3. If spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources.   
  4. Call Chemical Spill Emergency Response number (911).   
  5. Close doors to affected area.   
  6. Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.

Biological Spill Response

Biological spills outside biological safety cabinets will generate aerosols that can be dispersed in the air throughout the laboratory. Wait 30 minutes prior to initiating spill clean up to allow aerosols to settle or be removed by the ventilation system.

BSL 1 Level Spill

  1. Wear disposable gloves.   
  2. Soak paper towels in disinfectant and place over spill area.   
  3. Place towels in plastic bag for disposal.   
  4. Clean spill area with fresh towels soaked in disinfectant.

BSL 2 Level Spill

  1. Alert people in immediate area of spill.   
  2. Put on protective equipment.   
  3. Cover spill with paper towels or other absorbent materials.   
  4. Carefully pour a freshly prepared 1 in 10 dilution of household bleach around the edges of the spill and then into the spill. Avoid splashing.   
  5. Allow a 20-minute contact period.   
  6. Use paper towels to wipe up the spill, working from the edges into the center.   
  7. Clean spill area with fresh towels soaked in disinfectant.   
  8. Place towels in a plastic bag and decontaminate in an autoclave.

Fire

Small fires can be extinguished without evacuation. However, an immediate readiness to evacuate is essential in the event the fire cannot be controlled. Fire extinguishers should be used only by trained personnel. Never enter a room that is smoke filled. Never enter a room containing a fire without a backup person. Never enter a room if the top half of the door is warm to touch. Always dial 911 to ensure the Fire Department is notified of any fire even if it is minor and has been successfully extinguished.

Minor Fire

  1. Alert people in laboratory and activate alarm.   
  2. Smother fire or use correct fire extinguisher.   
  3. Aim extinguisher at base of fire.   
  4. Always maintain accessible exit.   
  5. Avoid smoke or fumes.

Major Fire

  1. Alert people in area to evacuate.   
  2. Activate nearest fire alarm or call Fire Emergency Response number.   
  3. Close doors to confine fire.   
  4. Evacuate to safe area or exit building through stairwell; do not use elevator.   
  5. Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.