8.9.4 Spills Outside a Biological Safety Cabinet

BSL2 / RG2 Agent or “Large Spill” 

A spill is considered to be large if it is difficult to contain within the laboratory or the facility, and/or it constitutes a significant health hazard.  This type of spill may require special assistance in controlling and clean up.


  • Evacuate the area immediately.
  • If biological safety cabinet or fume hood is in the room, leave it on and immediately exit the room.  Close and lock the door.
  • Post a "Biohazard" and "Do Not Enter" sign on the door to keep people out of the area and to prevent the spread of the contaminant.
  • Notify supervisor and EHS's Biological Safety Section.


  • Thoroughly wash face, hands and any exposed body area.  Remove all contaminated clothing, and decontaminate (autoclave, if necessary). If necessary, use an emergency shower in the immediate area.
  • Allow at least 30 minutes for droplets to settle and aerosols to be reduced before reentering.
  • Don protective equipment (long sleeved lab coat, disposable gloves, safety goggles and face shield and disposable shoe covers, if needed).
  • If the spill is large, apply absorbent booms or dike around the spill area to avoid spreading.
  • Decontaminate with an appropriate disinfectant. Pour the disinfectant slowly around the spill, not on the spill, to avoid aerosolizing the material.
  • Cover spill area with paper towels or absorbent pads soaked in disinfectant.
  • Allow a 20 minute disinfectant contact period.
  • Wipe down all surfaces that may have been splashed.
  • Clean up the liquid working from the outside of the spill area inward to avoid spreading the spill.
  • Using an autoclavable dust pan and squeegee, transfer all contaminated glassware or sharp material into a sharp's bucket.
  • Re-wipe spill area with disinfectant.
  • Dispose of all cleanup items in the proper container and autoclave.
  • Wash hands and any exposed skin with soap and water.
  • For large spills, contact EHS's Biological Safety Section for assistance in determining when additional decontamination is necessary.