Cleaning up Chemical Spills
Excerpt from Safety Manuel 2005:
I. Storage and Handling of Chemicals
- Read all container labels and the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) prior to using chemicals. The label and MSDS will give information on the chemical, its ingredients, health hazards, PPE required and proper procedures for its use, handling and storage.
- Use and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals. Safety goggles are required when handling liquid chemicals. Use the appropriate gloves for the chemicals that you are using. Contact your supervisor or REHS if you have questions regarding the selection and use of PPE.
- Ensure all containers are properly labeled. Notify your supervisor if you discover unlabelled chemicals.
- Always add chemicals to water to prevent splashing when diluting chemicals. Never add water to chemicals.
- Never mix chemicals unless instructed to do so. Read the MSDS and the container label prior to mixing chemicals. Contact your supervisor or REHS if unsure of proper safety procedures.
- Know the location of spill kits, safety showers and eyewash stations. Report all spills to your supervisor immediately. If a large spill occurs or the chemical is particularly hazardous, notify campus police immediately. If a chemical comes into contacts with your body, wash the affected area immediately and remove all contaminated clothing. If you splash a chemical into your eyes, flush your eyes immediately with water for at least 15 minutes. All employees must report to the Occupational Health Department immediately after flushing or washing the affected area.
- Use proper personal hygiene after handling chemicals. Always wash your hands after using chemicals.
- Never smell chemicals as a means of identification. Ensure all bottle caps are tightly sealed.
- Store chemicals properly. Follow storage instructions on the MSDS or label. Store incompatible chemicals, i.e., flammable, oxidizers and corrosives separately. Store chemicals in well-ventilated areas with no temperature extremes. Do not store glass chemical containers on the floor. Do not store harsh chemicals, i.e., acids and solvents, above waist level.
- Dispose of all chemicals properly. If you have questions regarding appropriate disposal procedures, contact your supervisor or REHS.
- Do not handle or move chemicals in laboratories. Contact the principal investigator or other laboratory personnel to handle or move chemicals. If a spill is discovered in a laboratory, contact laboratory personnel or your supervisor. Do not clean up spilled chemicals in laboratories.
- Do not eat or drink in areas where chemicals are used or stored.
- Participate in annual Right-To-Know Training.