All laboratories utilizing hazardous chemicals must have standard operating procedures that address chemical spill response actions. These SOPs must identify appropriate response equipment, procedures and limitations

  • To know what is to be done & by whom in the event of a “hazardous material release” creating an emergency situation.
  • The Chemical Spill Response Guide regulates the action handling of hazardous substances by workers employed in the clean-up operation or workers responding to an emergency release.
  • An emergency release is defined as:


  1. A spill of over 1 Liter of hazardous substance


  1. Major Spills
    1. In the event of a spill which:
      1. involves the release of a type or quantity of a chemical that poses an immediate risk to health, or
      2. involves an uncontrolled fire or explosion or
      3. involves a highly dangerous chemical or
      4. involves unknown or highly reactive chemical(s) or
      5. involves a large quantity of chemical (generally over 1 liter of liquid or 1 kg of solid material)
        1. Immediately activate the nearest fire alarm and evacuate the building.
        2. Call emergency extension and provide details of the accident including:
          1. location
          2. class of hazardous materials involved
          3. size of spill
          4. description of any personal injury
          5. control measures already taken
          6. your name and phone number
          7. how you can be identified when emergency personnel arrive at the scene
        3. If the accident involves personal injury or chemical contamination, follow the above steps as appropriate, and at the same time:
          1. Move the victim from the immediate area of fire, explosion, or spill (if this can be done without further injury to the victim or you).
          2. Locate nearest emergency eyewash or safety shower.
          3. Remove any contaminated clothing from the victim and flush all areas of the body contacted by chemicals with copious amounts of water for 15 minutes.
          4. Administer first aid as appropriate and seek immediate medical attention.
  1. Minor Spills
    1. In the event of a spill involving the release of a chemical that does not pose an immediate risk to health and does not involve chemical contamination to the body:
      1. Notify personnel and the adjacent department/unit/section of the accident.
      2. Isolate the area, closing doors and evacuating the immediate area if necessary.
      3. Remove ignition sources and unplug nearby electrical equipment.
      4. Establish ventilation, if possible, by turning on central exhaust system, and the fume hoods if the accident occur in the laboratory..
      5. Locate the spill kit.
      6. Choose appropriate personal protective equipment (goggles, face shield, impervious gloves, lab coat, apron, etc.).
        1. Confine and contain spill by covering or surrounding it with appropriate absorbent material.
        2. Neutralize acid and base spills prior to cleanup
        3. Sweep solid material into a plastic dust pan and place in a sealed 5 gallon container.
        4. Wet mop spill area. Be sure to decontaminate broom, dustpan, etc.
        5. Put all contaminated items (gloves, clothing, etc.) into a sealed container or plastic bag.
        6. Request Safety Officer or Housekeeping for Hazardous Waste Pickup.
  2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) procedures for the spilled chemical take priority over these procedures in the event they differ
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    1. goggles and face shield
    2. heavy neoprene or nitrile gloves
    3. disposable lab coat and corrosives apron
    4. plastic vinyl booties
    5. dust mask/respirator
  4.  Absorbents:
    1. Apill socks, pillows or pads in sufficient quantity to contain a spill and keep it away from any floor drains.
    2. Universal spill absorbent – 1:1:1 mixture of Flor-Dri (or unscented kitty litter), sodium bicarbonate, and sand. This all purpose absorbent is good for most chemical spill including solvents, acids (not good for hydrofluoric acid), and bases.
    3. Acid spill neutralizer – sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, or calcium carbonate.
    4. Alkali (base) spill neutralizer – sodium bisulfate
    5. Solvents/organic liquid absorbent – inert absorbents such as vermiculite, clay, sand, Flor-Dri, and Oil-Dri.
    6. Bromine neutralizer – 5% solution of sodium thiosulfate and inert absorbent.
    7. Hydrofluoric acid – HF compatible spill pillow or neutralize with lime and transfer to a polyethylene container.
  5. Clean-Up Material:
    1. broom, plastic dust pan and scoop
    2. plastic bags (30 Gallon, 3 mil thickness) for contaminated PPE
    3. one plastic bucket (5 gallon polyethylene) with lid for spill and absorbent residues
    4. hazmat bags (chemical, biological, and/or radiological (as appropriate)
  6.  Other:
    1. hydrofluoric acid antidote gel – calcium gluconate (if hydrofluoric acid is used in the lab)
    2. mercury spill kit – aspirator bulb and mercury decontaminating powder
    3. alkali metals – dry sand
    4. acid chlorides – Oil Dri, Zorb-All, or dry sand
    5. pH paper
    6. tongs
  7. Action by Safety Officer
    1. Directly proceed to the scene after getting the information.
    2. Help in or direct the cleaning up operation.
    3. Ensure that the waste generated in cleaning up the spill is properly stored/treated.
    4. Accomplish incident report in conjunction with Area In-charge and determine the cause of spill.