General Information

Try to anticipate the types of chemical spills that can occur in your laboratory and obtain the necessary equipment (spill kits and personal protective equipment) to respond to a minor spill. Learn how to clean up minor spills of the chemicals you use regularly safely. A Safety Data Sheet/SDS contains special spill clean-up information and should also be consulted. Chemical spills should only be cleaned up by knowledgeable and experienced personnel.

If the spill is too large for you to handle, is a threat to laboratory personnel or the public, or involves a highly toxic or reactive chemical, call for assistance immediately.

Cleaning Up Chemical Spills

If you are cleaning up a small spill yourself, make sure that you are aware of the hazards associated with the materials spilled, have adequate ventilation (open windows, chemical fume hood on) and proper personal protective equipment (minimum - gloves, goggles, and lab coat). Consider all residual chemical and cleanup materials (adsorbent, gloves, etc.) as hazardous waste. Place these materials in a sealed container (plastic bags) and store in a chemical fume hood. Contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for disposal instructions.

Minor Chemical Spill

  • Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  • Increase ventilation in area of spill (open windows, turn on hoods).
  • Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves, and long-sleeve lab coat.
  • Avoid breathing vapors from spill.
  • Use appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases. Collect residue, place in container, and dispose as hazardous chemical waste.
  • For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand, diatomaceous earth or paper towels. Collect residue, place in container, and dispose as chemical waste.
  • Clean spill area with water.

Major Chemical Spill

  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure.
  • Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.
  • If spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources. Place other device (plastic bag) over spilled material to keep substance from volatilizing.
  • Call Public Safety 740-368-2222.
  • Close doors to affected area.
  • Have a person with knowledge of the incident and laboratory available to answer questions from responding emergency personnel.