Chemical Accidents

Chemical Accidents

  1. Chemicals in the Eye
    If you get chemicals in your eyes, what you do in the first few seconds is the most important:
    1. Yell for help, you will need it!
    2. Get to an eyewash station or other source of water.
    3. Flush with water for at least 15 minutes. Use thumb and forefinger to hold eyelids open.
    4. Do not rub your eyes or put medication in them.
    5. Do not put neutralizers in the eyes.
    6. Have someone call 911.
    7. Always report to LSCS Risk Management after flushing for 15 minutes.
    8. All accidents must be reported.
  2. Chemical Splashes on Your Person
    1. Wash thoroughly with water.
    2. Depending on the extent of the contamination and hazard of the chemical you may need to:
      1. Yell for help!
      2. Run for the safety shower! (a sink may be used if more appropriate).
      3. Have someone call 911 (emergency).
      4. Remove all contaminated clothing.
      5. Wash thoroughly with water: 15 minutes is recommended.
    3. Report to LSCS Risk Management after washing.
    4. All injuries must be reported.
  3. Inhalation of Chemicals
    1. If a person has been exposed by inhalation:
      1. DO NOT become a victim yourself!
      2. If more than one person is down, a hazardous situation exists.
      3. DO NOT enter the room.
      4. Evacuate the area and dial 911 (emergency).
    2. Even one person down might indicate the presence of toxic gases.
      1. Call 911 and proceed only with extreme caution.
      2. Get the victim to fresh air if you can do so safely.
      3. Apply artificial respiration as appropriate if you are properly trained to do so.
    3. Call 911 (emergency).
    4. Report to LSCS Risk Management after washing.
    5. All injuries must be reported.
  4. Chemical Spills
    1. Response depends on the quantity and nature of the spill.
    2.  

      IMPORTANT: ALL SPILLS

    3. Evacuate the laboratory at once if you are not certain the situation is nonhazardous
    4. Call LSCS Police Dispatch at X5911 (from any campus phone) or (281) 290-5911 to request immediate assistance from the Facilities Department.
    5. If you KNOW the situation is non-hazardous, there is no need to evacuate the laboratory.
    6. If you have any doubt about your ability to safely clean up the spill yourself, call the campus Facilities Department for assistance.
    7. Hazards of a spill to consider:
      1. Are there toxic vapors being given off that may be harmful to breathe?
      2. Is it a flammable solvent that might burst into flame at any moment?
      3. Are there sources of ignition such as a hot plate or vacuum pump nearby?
      4. Could it be toxic if it got on your skin?
      5. Is it an acid or base that could burn your skin or eyes?
      6. Is it inside or outside a hood (Spills in laboratory fume hoods are much less hazardous).
      7. Note: solvents, water and especially hydroxide solutions make a floor very slippery.
    8. Water based spills
      1. Greater than one liter:
        1. Contact the Facilities Department for any spill of this size, even if you believe it to be non-hazardous.
      2. Less than one liter:
        1. You may be able to clean up spills in this range.
        2. Consider the hazards listed above.
        3. Only attempt to clean it up by yourself if you can do so safely.
        4. Contact the Facilities Department if you doubt your ability to safely handle the clean-up.
    9. Solvent based spills
      1. Greater than 500 mls
        1. Evacuate the area at once unless you KNOW the situation is nonhazardous
      2. Call LSCS Police Dispatch at X5911 (from any campus phone) or (281) 290-5911 to request immediate assistance from the Facilities Department for clean up.
      3. If you think you can do so safely, it may be appropriate for you to quickly throw some solvent spill kit material on the spill before you leave the laboratory.
      4. Less than 500 mls
        1. You may be able to handle this yourself.
        2. Consider the hazards listed above.
        3. Check for potential ignition sources in the area.
      5. Only attempt to clean it up by yourself if you can do so safely.
      6. Contact the Facilities Department if you doubt your ability to safely handle the clean-up.
      7. If you think you can do so safely, it may be appropriate for you to quickly throw some solvent spill kit material on the spill before you leave the laboratory.
    10. Mercury Spills
      1. Click here for Mercury Spills & Clean-up information.
  5. How to Clean Up Chemical Spills
    1. Wear the proper protective gear!
      1. Wear safety goggles if the material could cause damage to your eyes.
      2. Wear a lab coat.
      3. Wear appropriate gloves.
    2. Spills of Relatively Non-hazardous Solid Materials
      1. If you can safely handle the spill, sweep it up carefully to avoid generating dust.
      2. Put the waste material into a bottle or similar container
      3. Dispose of the waste in an appropriate manner (see Disposal Instructions).
    3. Spills of Organic Solvents
      1. Remove all nearby sources of ignition if you can do it safely.
      2. Use a solvent spill kit if you attempt to clean it up yourself. The activated charcoal in the spill kits absorbs both the vapors and solvent, minimizing vapors in the air that could ignite and making the spill less toxic.
      3. For spills of just a few milliliters, paper towels are OK.
      4. Start from outside the edge of the spill, and build a dam of charcoal to keep the spill from spreading
      5. Fill in the area of the spill until all solvent is covered.
      6. Add more charcoal if the material appears wet or damp.
      7. Stir the material gently, and add even more charcoal until the entire mass appears to be dry.
      8. Scoop up the charcoal and place it in a bottle, bucket, or similar container.
      9. Dispose of the waste in an appropriate manner.
    4. Spills of Acids and Bases
      1. Use an acid or base spill kit, as appropriate. The materials in these kits have indicators that tell the researcher when the spill has been neutralized.
      2. Start just outside the edge of the spill, and build a dam of material to keep the spill from spreading.
      3. Fill in the area of the spill until it is completely covered.
      4. Stir the material around, adding more as needed. The color of the spill material changes from its original color to a different one when it contacts acid or base. The second color means the spill has not been completely neutralized.
      5. When you have added enough material and stirred it around, it should all return to the original color. This indicates the spill has been neutralized.
      6. Scoop up the material and place it in a bottle, bucket, or similar container.
      7. Dispose of the waste in an appropriate manner.
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