- Check for flammability. If flammable or combustible, refer to “Flammable/Combustible Liquids” guidance.
- Some of these materials may burn but are not readily ignitable.
- Contact causes irritation or burns to skin or eyes.
- May be toxic if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through skin.
- Heat and/or fire may produce irritating or poisonous gases.
Basic Supplies (See EHS Spill Preparedness and Response Training for additional information)
|Absorbent pads, pillows, or loose sorbent, OR
Solvent absorbent such as Spill-X-S or
Solusorb (Solusorb may be used for non-oxidizing liquids, only)
Lab coat or apron
Shoe Covers (optional)
Non-sparking (plastic) mixing tools
Heavy duty waste bags
Tape to seal bags
Hazardous waste labels
Response Actions/Cleanup Methods
- Alert others in the spill area.
- Don’t touch or walk through the spilled material.
- Based on the material and quantity spilled, assess the potential volatility and safe exposure limit.
- Isolate the area and vent vapors only to the outside. Alert others if this is not possible.
- Wait a few seconds to allow any aerosols generated during the spill to settle before beginning cleanup and take care not to generate aerosols during cleanup by avoiding vigorous wiping.
- Wear eye and skin protection. Choose gloves that are compatible with spilled liquid. Silver Shield®/4H® gloves are a good general choice.
- Avoid breathing vapors.
- Dike the spilled liquid to prevent spreading. Universal absorbent such as spill pads, pillows, or a general absorbent material may be used.
- Cover the spill area with a universal absorbent and absorb all spilled material. Spill-X-S®, Solusorb®, or other activated charcoal may be used for volatile solvents to reduce vapors. (DO NOT use charcoal with oxidizing materials!)
- Pick up spill cleanup materials with plastic tools and place them into a plastic or glass container with a sealable lid.
- Label material for collection by EHS.
- Thoroughly ventilate the area after the cleanup.
- Clean the area with detergent and water after the spill cleanup.
Factors That Can Complicate Spill Response
- Spilled toxic/poisonous or irritating liquids may become a major spill due to a large quantity spilled, a complex situation such as multiple chemicals spilled or involved in a spill, or if special respiratory protection is required for response.
- Special respiratory protection may be required if there is an inhalation hazard due to –
- Increased toxicity/volatility.
- Severe short term health effects.
- Highly volatile or toxic materials spilled in poorly ventilated areas. For example, a large quantity of 37% formaldehyde solution would be volatile, combustible, and have severe short-term health effects.
- Chemicals with strong or irritating odors, such as chemicals labeled “stench” or lachrymators may affect an entire building in a short time if contaminated air is recirculated. A small quantity spill could be mistaken for a gas leak and result in emergency evacuation of a building. If these types of chemicals are spilled, alert others and, if possible, quickly move the spilled material to a fume hood. If a fume hood is not available, double-bag or triple-bag waste and tightly close to control odor. For example, beta-mercaptoethanol has a very strong “rotten-egg” odor and is considered a “stench” chemical.