13.6 Spill Clean-up Procedures

Sm​all, Simple Spills

A simple spill is not spreading rapidly, does not endanger people or property except by direct contact, and does not endanger th​e environment outside of the building. Users of chemicals are able to neutralize, absorb or otherwise manage small spills. If there are questions about safe or appropriate clean up measures check first with your supervisor or EHS.

General Clean Up Procedures

  1. Refer to the Concise Hazardous Material Spill Response Guide if needed (see Resource for this section).
  2. Always wear eye and hand protection and choose additional protective equipment appropriate for the situation.
  3. Contain the spill. Gently apply absorbent from the outer edge of the spill in.
  4. For solids gently brush particles into a container or dustpan. If spill is not water reactive material, wet wipe the area.
  5. Deposit hazardous debris in a rigid non-reactive container with a lid.
  6. If debris may off gas, place the container in a chemical fume hood. Open the lid slightly to avoid pressure buildup or container rupture.
  7. Complete hazardous waste label and request container pickup.


For small spills such as a thermometer, use an aspirator bulb, suction device or mercury sponge. Place debris in a sealed rigid container, not a plastic bag. If vapor inhalation is a potential problem, i.e., larger spills, spills in small unventilated spaces, or spills in ovens or heating baths, contact EHS.

Ac​id Chlorides

Avoid water and sodium bicarbonate. Use dry sand, Oil-Dri, or an equivalent product.

Alkali Metals

Do not use water. Smother in dry sand and place debris in a hood.

Highly Hazardous or Toxic Materials

Certain substances such as hydrofluoric acid or extremely poisonous substances may necessitate having special clean up supplies or antidotes in the work area.