Hazardous Spills and/or Releases
On-the-job Hazard Communication or Chemical Hygiene training, which is required by OSHA, is the main way for employees to learn how to recognize and respond to chemical releases or spills. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) can also provide direction. Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring Hazard Communication or Chemical Hygiene training has been provided, for training specific to their lab practices, for ensuring that MSDSs are available, and for ensuring spill response supplies are readily available in the area where spills may occur. To request Hazard Communication and OSHA Lab Standard training, contact Environmental Health and Safety.
When a hazardous chemical is released, appropriate and immediate response can prevent serious injury to students and employees. In the event of a spill or other release of hazardous materials, all persons on Baylor University premises should be prepared to act appropriately.
For those working with chemicals:
- Obtain the appropriate training for the chemical you are working with,
- Know location of MSDS,
- Know location of, and how to use, spill response supplies.
Spill Kit Contents:
- Spill pads, spill pillows, or other organic material absorption compounds
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – for acid (except HF) or base spills
- Calcium carbonate or HF specific spill pillow– for HF spills
- Hazardous waste labels
- Heavy nitrile gloves
- Zip lock bags or plastic bags and tape to close
- Dust pan and brush
Outdoors: Immediately notify Baylor Police at 710-2222.
Indoors: In case of imminent danger to health, property, or the environment:
- Isolate area of spill (e.g. shutting doors, closing vent hoods, setting booms with socks, etc).
- For indoor releases/spills of highly toxic materials or large volume spills:
- Leave the area and pull fire alarm to initiate building evacuation. For outdoor releases/spills: If possible to do so safely (without risk of overexposure) take action to stop the release & prevent or minimize releases to storm sewers.
- Do not initiate evacuation from nearby buildings unless otherwise advised by emergency responders.
- Render appropriate first aid. Thoroughly wash exposed areas of the skin with soap and water.
- Refer to the MSDS for the spilled material.
- Notify the Baylor Police 710-2222 and provide information for emergency responders.
Not an imminent danger:
- Use appropriate spill kits to contain spill.
- Render appropriate first aid.
- Refer to the MSDS for the spilled material.
- Notify your supervisor. Finish clean-up of spill using appropriate protective apparel as specified on MSDS. Manage waste properly. Contact Environmental Health and Safety at 254-710-2900 or 254-716-0224 for assistance.
Exposure or injury reporting: shall be reported in a prompt manner (within 24 hours) via the Incident Report Form. Visitors, students, and any non-employees should also complete this form.
If a fire occurs in your building:
Follow-up: Lab personnel should investigate all spills and take appropriate steps to prevent similar spills.
Spill Clean-up Processes
- Spills of Oils, Organic liquids, and/or Solvents:
- Cover spilled material with enough absorbent materials or use Spill pillows to contain all liquid
- Start from the outer edge of the spill and work towards center
- Use a brush and dust pan to sweep up saturated spill pads: avoid creating dust.
- Or, while wearing gloves, pick up saturated spill Pillows
- Place material in zip lock bag and seal the bag
- If the material is hazardous, affix a hazardous waste label to the bag and hold for a hazardous waste pickup
- Small amounts of oils mixed with an absorbent may be bagged and placed in the dumpster if there are no hazardous materials present.
- Spills of Acids (except Hydrofluoric Acid) or Bases:
- Apply enough acid neutralizer or sodium bicarbonate (for acids)to cover the spill
- Apply enough base neutralizer (for alkaline) to cover the spill
- Start from the outer edges of the spill and move toward the center
- Wait until the bubbling action has stopped
- Check the pH of the mixture, slowly add sodium bicarbonate until the pH is between 5.5 and 9.0
- Materials with a pH of 5.5-9.0 may be drain disposed with plenty of water
- Spills of Hydrofluoric Acid
- Avoid all skin, eyes, or respiratory contact with the vapor or liquid
- Cover spill completely with calcium carbonate (or an HF-compatible spill pillow) working from the outer edge toward the center of the spill
- Cover spill and calcium carbonate mixture with absorbent material
- Place saturated material in zip lock bag and seal the bag
- Affix a hazardous waste label to the bag and hold for a hazardous waste pickup