When is it safe to clean up a spill by myself?

Important phone numbers at UCLA

UCLA EH&S Hot Line for hazardous chemical and biological spills and injuries (310) 825-9797 (8:30 AM to 5:30 AM)
UCLA emergencies -24 hours- call 911 from a cell or landline phone
UCLA EH&S General Line for non-hazardous spills call (310) 825-5689 for advice

The spilled chemical is hazardous

For large (>1 l)) spills of hazardous chemical materials, spills containing highly toxic, volatile or flammable chemicals, spills with BSL2 pathogens (>100 ml)
• Immediately alert co-workers and if safe seal off drains to prevent spill from spreading.
• Evacuate the lab and call 911
• Place Chemical Spill - Do Not Enter signs on all outside lab doors.
• If spill contains flammables, turn off all power sources - but only if it is safe to do so.
• Do not clean up spill; UCLA's HAZMAT Team will do the cleanup.
• Notify your supervisor.

For spills of hazardous chemical materials, spills containing highly toxic chemicals or spills with BSL2 pathogens on body or clothes
• Remove all affected clothing.
• Rinse body thoroughly under emergency shower for at least 15 min.
• Splashed to eyes: Immediately rinse eyeball and inner surface of eyelid with water for 15 min by forcibly holding the eye open.
• Seek medical attention.
• Report the incident to your supervisor and to EH&S at (310) 825-9797.

For small (<1 l) spills of hazardous chemical materials
• Alert your co-workers immediately, block off the spill area with barrier tape and attach spill cleanup signs.
• Contain the spilled material, prevent it from spreading, i.e., close the bottle, place absorbent material down, etc).
• Dike the spill by surrounding the area with absorbent materials such as paper towels, pads, pillows, etc.
• Obtain the SDS for information on the nature of the chemical, the appropriate cleanup procedure and the recommended PPE for the
cleanup.
• Clean up the spill using the spill cleanup kit and using the appropriate PPE:
- Neutralize acids with sodium bicarbonate and bases with citric acid.
- Place all materials, including paper towels used in the cleanup, into a bag (not biohazard bag).
- Double (or triple) bag waste and label the waste bags using a Hazardous Waste Online Waste Tags.
- Dispose of all waste as Hazardous Waste
.
- Bring the waste bags to the next regularly scheduled Hazardous Waste pickup, or call UCLA’s EH&S at (310) 206-1887 to schedule a pick-up.
- Wash affected surfaces with soap and water and dispose waste by ordinary means.
• Report the incident to your supervisor and to EH&S at (
310) 825-5689.

The spilled chemical is unknown

• Assume the chemical is very hazardous and call 911.
• Alert your co-workers immediately, evacuate the lab, and place Spill Clean-up signs to the outside of lab doors.
• Notify your supervisor.

 

 The spilled chemical is not hazardous

• Alert your co-workers.
• Contain the spilled material and prevent it from spreading, i.e., close the bottle, place absorbent material down, etc).
• If the spill might endanger others (e.g., they might slip and fall), block off the area and attach spill cleanup signs.
• Obtain the SDS to confirm that the chemical is not hazardous and to get advice on the cleanup procedure if necessary.
• Clean up the spill using the spill cleanup kit or other means (paper towels, etc.).
• Double (or triple) bag waste and label the waste bags using Hazardous Waste Online Waste Tags. Dispose all waste as Hazardous Waste even if not hazardous. Large amounts of non-hazardous chemicals can be harmful to the environment.
• For large spills, recruit others for help.
• Notify your supervisor.

 

Additional Information

• Chemical Spills (Princeton University)
• 
Spill Cleanup: Using a Spill Kit - YouTube (Iowa State University)