Hazardous Material Spills

Laboratories must be prepared for spills from the chemicals that they use and/or store in their laboratory. This includes having the appropriate spill kit and emergency equipment set up prior to the use of the chemicals. Review the Spills Response Document to ensure that your laboratory has the minimum contents of a basic spill kit.

If at any time a laboratory needs help with spill response, they can contact the University Spill's Team through the Special Constables at ext. 22222.

Spill response steps

  1. Notify the lab occupants of the spill.
  2. Isolate the immediate spill area.
  3. If necessary, evacuate the area.
    1. Examples of situations that require evacuations include any of the following:
      1. Large spills (4L+)
      2. Spills of highly toxic materials
      3. Spills of highly irritant materials (i.e., lacrimators)
      4. Anything immediately dangerous to life or health
    2. If an evacuation occurs:
      1. Post a sign on the door
      2. Call the Spills Team via UW Special Constables Service (ext. 22222)
      3. Wait at an agreed upon location while the UW Special Constables dispatch for help
  4. If the spill is part of a leak, stop the source of the leak (e.g. right an upturned beaker, plug a hole).
  5. Immediately cover the spill with absorbent material.
  6. Don appropriate gloves, then pick up the absorbent material and place material in the bag within the spill kit pail.
  7. Using tweezers or tongs, pick up any broken glass.
  8. Continue to place more absorbent material until no more standing liquid is present.
  9. Wipe down the area with wet (water) paper towel (if compatible) and check the pH of the area. Continue wiping the area until the pH is neutral (6-8). Used paper towels will go in the waste bag in the spill kit pail.
  10. Label the spill kit pail appropriately as hazardous waste and bring down to ESF for final disposal.


Additional resources and information