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Chemical Spill Response

Emergency Chemical Spill Procedures

Emergency chemical spills are: 

  • Generally greater than 1 liter
  • Involve a highly toxic or reactive compound
  • Present an immediate fire or environmental hazard
  • Require specialized training and additional personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a respirator to properly clean up 

In the event of an emergency chemical spill, cease all activities, alert personnel in the area and immediately evacuate. If the spill is large, producing toxic vapors, has caused a fire, explosion or chemical exposure, or is an apparent hazard to the building's occupants, pull the fire alarm and dial 911. Ensure that no one else is allowed to enter the area until the spill has been properly cleaned. 


Non-Emergency Chemical Spill Procedures

Non-emergency chemical spills are:

  • Less than 1 liter
  • Do not involve a highly toxic or reactive material
  • Do not present a significant fire or environmental hazard
  • Are not in a public area such as a hallway

These spills can be cleaned up by properly trained lab personnel using the area spill kit and conventional personal protective equipment (PPE) like safety glasses or goggles and gloves. 


In general, when a non-emergency spill occurs, the area around the spill should be isolated. Everyone in the immediate area should be made aware of the spill, and the spilled material should be absorbed and collected using either pads or some other absorbent material such as oil dry or kitty litter. Decontamination of the spill area should be conducted using an appropriate solvent. Soap and water is often the most effective. Proper PPE should be worn at all times and only personnel who have been trained should conduct the cleanup. Additionally, review the safety data sheets (SDS), specifically Section 6, "Accidental Release Measures" to obtain chemical-specific cleanup information.


For More Information

Chemical Spill Kits

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