Emergency Chemical Spill Procedure School of Biological Sciences

Emergency Chemical Spill Procedure
School of Biological Sciences
All staff/students working with hazardous chemicals should be able to answer the following questions:
"What would you do if this material spilled?"
“Should this chemical be handled in a chemical fume hood?”
Before beginning work with a chemical, read the MSDS and any associated standard operating procedures (SOPs) and
discuss this with your lab supervisor to better understand the nature of the chemical(s) and hazards associated with
working with the chemical(s). Know where the nearest eye washes and spill kits are located. Volatile and hazardous
chemicals should be stored in a manner which will minimise the outcome of unplanned release. Winchesters of flammable
solvents should never be kept on the work bench and must be transported with the aid of a suitable carrier. Consider the
purchase of particularly volatile and hazardous material in “Safe Break” containers.
Small spill kits and/or neutralising agents with instructions, absorbents and personal protective equipment should be
readily available to clean up minor spills. With very volatile solvents it is important to apply the absorbent asap to slow up
the evaporation of the liquid and prevent it becoming airborne.
A MINOR spill is one that
 does not spread rapidly
 does not endanger people or property except by direct contact
 does not endanger the environment (will not enter a drain)
 does not occur in a confined or poorly ventilated space
 the workers in the area are capable of handling safely without the assistance of safety and emergency personnel.
All other chemical spills are considered MAJOR. Leave the area immediately, alert fellow lab occupants and contact
Chris Preshaw (Chief Technician) on 5788, or the most appropriate of the following
Adrienne Healy (School Safety Officer) on 2113,
George Allen (COSHH Officer) on 2277,
QUB Safety Services on 4681,
Philip Johnston QML on 7801,
Brett Greer IAFLU on 6613, or
Emergency Services on 2222.
Large spill kit locations: MBC Porter’s reception and School Office (inner stationary store rood), IAFLU laboratory
(DKB) and QML laboratory.
General Procedures For Minor Spill Response
In the event of a spill and ONLY if it can be done without endangering yourself:
Attend to anyone who may have been contaminated or hurt.
Turn on the fume hood(s) and open windows, but close doors to prevent vapour spreading beyond.
If flammable materials are spilled, turn off and unplug electrical devices / turn off Bunsen burners etc.
Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment and ensure that it is resistant to the spilled material.
Control the spread of liquids; absorb liquids by adding appropriate absorbent materials, such as inert spill
pads/pillows/socks or inert vermiculite, from the spill's outer edges toward the centre. Paper towels and sponges may
also be used as absorbent material if done cautiously considering the character of the spilled material.
Neutralize acids, if possible, using a neutralizing agent such as a weak base.
Collect and contain the clean up residue and all materials used to clean up the spill by placing it into a plastic or other
appropriate container. Label the container as "spill residue" with the chemical name of the spilled materials. Dispose of
the spill residue as hazardous waste through the annual chemical uplift if necessary.
Decontaminate the area and affected equipment. Prolonged ventilation of the spill area may be necessary.
Document what happened, why, what was done, and what was learned – i.e. complete the School accident report
forms. Such documentation can be used to avoid similar occurrences in the future. Major incidents are almost always
preceded by near misses.