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After hours Research Lab Chemical Spill

Response to after hours Research Lab Chemical Spill
when no lab personnel are present

Instructions for Custodial, Maintenance and Security personnel- Follow this procedure in the event that a spill of a laboratory chemical (such as sulfuric acid or acetone) occurs or is discovered after normal business hours when no laboratory personnel are present.

The objective of the procedure is to assure that:

  • Injuries and illnesses from the spilled material are prevented, and
  • the spilled material is safely removed for proper disposal.

1. Move away from the spilled material. Take care not to spread the spilled material unnecessarily. Immediately wash any spilled material from the skin and eyes by flushing with water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Remove any contaminated clothing. If the odor from the spilled material is very irritating or breathing is affected by it, leave the area BEFORE taking these steps.

2. Leave the area of the spill immediately; close the laboratory door and if possible, post a Security Officer to keep people away from the spill area. If no Security Officer is available, post a sign on the door warning people to stay out of the area.


4. Contact your supervisor as soon as possible. If you have been contaminated by material from the spill, the supervisor should make sure that any traces of the spilled material have been flushed from your skin and eyes. He/she should escort you to the New York Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room. The supervisor should then assist you in the completion of the following steps.

5. Determine the following information if you can do so without putting yourself at risk. This information is important because it is needed to assess the hazard presented by the spill and to determine the safe and appropriate procedure for cleaning up the spill.

The name of the chemical spilled taken from the label of container. If you cannot determine the name, note any color or odor that may be used to identify it. For example, the odor may be described as "like a paint thinner" or as "rotten eggs."

  • An estimate of the volume (ounces or pints) of the spill
  • The location (building and room number)
  • Was anyone contaminated by the spilled material? (names, extent of contamination)

6. If personal contamination is serious, there is difficulty breathing or eye irritation, report immediately to the Emergency Room of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

7. Notify the Security Office (Ext. 5-7979) as soon as possible, giving them all the information in item 5.

8. Security will contact the Laboratory supervisor and inform him or her about the spill.

9. Security will also contact a member of the EH&S Office staff and provide the information in item 5 including the name and phone number of the laboratory supervisor.

10. The EH&S staff member will contact the laboratory supervisor directly to arrange for clean up of the spill.