Chemical Spills Procedures


A. Definition of Chemical Spills - Emergency & Non-emergency

The range and quantity of hazardous substances used in laboratories require preplanning to respondBlue Emergency Light safely to chemical spills. The cleanup of chemical spills should only be accomplished by knowledgeable and experienced people. Spill kits with instructions, absorbents, reactants, and protective equipment should be available to clean up minor spills.

Three factors determine if a hazardous materials spill is a non-emergency or an emergency.

  1. How much was spilled - if the amount of the material spilled is more than one liter, it is considered a major spill and you should contact the Chemical Safety Office for assistance.
  2. What are the hazards of the material spilled - if the spill is less than one liter, but presents an immediate danger to health, safety, the environment, or is an immediate fire hazard, it is considered a major spill and you should follow Emergency Response Procedures for Chemical Spills.
  3. Where is the Spill - if the spill is outside of the laboratory or outside of the area where the material is normally used, and/or there is no trained person available to clean up the spill, you should contact the Chemical Safety Office for assistance.

Note: All laboratory workers, or persons using hazardous materials must be trained in how to clean up the materials they are using. Spill Kits are required in all areas where chemicals are used or stored - employees who work in those areas must be trained in how to use the kits and in how to activate the Emergency Response Procedures for Major Spills.

B. Non-Emergency - Minor Chemical Spill

Small spills (< 1 Liter and does not present an immediate fire, safety, environmental or health hazard).

  1. Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  2. Wear protective equipment - including safety goggles, gloves, long-sleeve lab coat.
  3. Avoid breathing vapors from the spill.
  4. Confine spill to small area.
  5. Use appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases. Collect residue, place in container , fill out blue waste tag, and contact the Chemical Safety Office at ext. 1-2663 for disposal..
  6. For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand, or diatomaceous earth. Collect residue, place in container and dispose as chemical waste.
  7. Clean spill area with water.

C. Spill Kits:

Chemical Spill Kits shall be available in the laboratory. The contents of the kit should include materials for cleaning up a spill for all chemicals in the lab such as:

  1. Chemical Resistant Gloves
  2. Neutralizing agents for acids and bases
  3. Absorbents for highly reactive acids and flammable solvents
  4. Polyform F if you have aldehyde solutions in the lab
  5. Scraper and Scoop for collecting absorbed materials
  6. Hazardous Material Disposal bags or containers for collecting spill materials for disposal

Commercial spill kits are available that have instructions

D. Emergency Response Procedures - Major Spill

Large Spills (> 1 Liter or a material presents an immediate fire, safety, environmental, or health hazard regardless of quantity). Examples: Spill of greater than 1 Liter of ethanol, methanol, strong acids or bases or any quantity of highly volatile organics, and mercury compounds.

  1. Stop work
  2. Turn off any ignition sources
  3. Attend to any injured persons - if you can do so without personal risk. Call 1-2911 to evacuate injured persons.
  4. Leave laboratory hood on
  5. Evacuate laboratory and close door
  6. Secure lab, i.e., keep others out of the lab
  7. Call Chemical Safety at ext. 1-2663 during normal working hours - off hours, weekends, and holidays call Campus Public Safety at ext. 1-2911 Response System
  8. Remain near lab until assistance arrives


The following telephone numbers are to be posted in all laboratories and/or chemical storage facilities where all other safety information is displayed.

Emergency Telephone Numbers:

  • Public Safety Division
  • Fire Safety Services
  • Environmental Health & Safety Division
  • Chemical/Biological Safety Office
  • Industrial Hygiene and Safety Office
  • Radiation Safety Office
  • Facilities Management Division
  • Work Management Center
  • Augusta University's Emergency Response System can be activated by calling:
    Public Safety Division at ext. 1-2911.

When there is a threat to human health or life, and/or institutional property, call Public Safety at ext. 1-2911. Public Safety personnel will contact the Departments responsible for managing each situation.