What is the situation?
Users of hazardous materials at the University have historically had a good safety record. However, incidents can occur in even the safest environment and an absence or breakdown of any established safeguards could result in a major emergency. Spills may result from equipment failure, human error, failure to follow established procedures, natural disaster, or sabotage.
What should I do?
- Spills that do not endanger workers in the immediate area may be cleaned up by personnel who have been trained by their supervisor, PI or lab manager and are properly equipped to handle the situation.
- Hazardous materials spill guidelines should be established by the supervisor, PI or lab manager after reviewing MSDS information on MYCHEM or hard copies of MSDSs kept on site. These procedures need to be included in the lab-specific Standard Operating Procedures.
- Spill cleanup guidelines for small localized spills should take into consideration the following:
- The dangers of the hazardous materials involved
- The amount of the hazardous materials spilled
- The possible spill locations
- Availability of appropriate clean-up materials or kits*
Large, unidentified or extremely dangerous spills
If the spill is large, the hazardous material is not easily identified, or if the material is extremely hazardous:
- Evacuate all personnel from the area.
- Call Campus Safety at 2-4888 and then call 9-1-1. When placing an emergency call:
- Give your name.
- Give the location of the spill (room and building).
- Give the phone number you are using.
- Describe the emergency/injuries.
- If possible, remain in the vicinity, away from danger, to assist emergency responders.
- Campus Safety will notify the Tacoma Fire Department who will respond to stabilize and contain the chemical spill, often leaving behind hazardous waste and contaminated equipment. If the hazardous waste is not properly cleaned up and packaged by the Tacoma Fire Department, do not reoccupy the area. Contact Environmental Health and Safety at 206-685-5835 for assistance.
- Note that packaged waste must be handled according to chemical waste management policies and guidelines established in Section 3 of the Laboratory Safety Manual. Please Contact the EH&S Environmental Programs Office at 206-685-5835 for assistance.
*See Section 4 of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual for help in assembling a chemical spill cleanup kit. See the UW Seattle EH&S website for other clean-up kits.