Hazardous Chemical Spill or Release

Response to a hazardous chemical spill or release varies greatly depending upon your position at the College, level of knowledge of the hazardous chemical, and level of training in cleaning or remediating hazardous chemical spills.  Therefore, procedures listed in this policy are categorized depending upon the above criteria of the particular responder.

NOTE: The College currently does not use radioisotopes, therefore, plans for radioactive spills have been deemed unnecessary at this time.

General Procedures

  • Report any spill immediately to Winter Park Fire Department via 9-1-1 and to Campus Safety at extension 2999.
  • When reporting the spill, inform the 9-1-1 operator or Security dispatcher of the location of the release or spill, type of hazard (e.g. flammable, explosive, toxic if known) and the name and quantity of the material released or spilled.  Inform them of any known injured, sick, or contaminated persons.
  • If a building emergency exists, activate the building fire alarm by pulling a pull station at one of the building exits.
  • Use caution in the area.  Move away from the spill and help keep others away. Do not walk into or touch any of the spilled substance. Try not to inhale gasses, fumes, vapors or smoke.  Evacuate the building if necessary.
  • Those who may be contaminated by the spill or release should avoid contact with others, remain in the vicinity, and give their names to Campus Safety or Fire Department/Police personnel.  As necessary, first aid and/or clean-up by trained, specialized authorities should begin at once.

Procedures for First Responders

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  • Approach cautiously from upwind.  Do not enter a building or area unless you are certain it is safe to do so.  Resist the urge to rush in; others cannot be helped until the situation has been fully assessed.
  • Secure the scene.  Without entering the immediate hazard area, isolate the area and ensure the safety of people and the environment, keep people away from the scene and outside the safety perimeter.
  • Ensure that Winter Park Fire Department has been notified via 9-1-1.
  • Assist the Fire Department as necessary if safe to do so.
  • Do not walk into or touch spilled material.  Avoid inhalation of fumes, smoke and vapors—even if no dangerous materials are known to be involved.  Do not assume that gasses or vapors are harmless because of lack of a smell—odorless gasses and vapors may be harmful.  Avoid handling empty containers because they may still present hazards until they are cleaned and purged of all residues.
  • Ensure that the Safety and Emergency Planning Coordinator has been informed of the situation.

Safety and Emergency Planning Coordinator

  • Generally, in a hazardous chemical spill or release situation that is beyond a simple clean-up by trained campus personnel the Winter Park Fire Department (WPFD) is called to the scene by Security or the person reporting the spill.  Once on the scene, WPFD haz-mat personnel will perform “first response—operations level” duties which may include recognition, notification of individuals or teams with offensive skills and equipment, containment of certain situations, minimizing harm to citizenry by evacuation, waterfog or protection in place.
    • Should additional response or clean-up/removal/disposal be required, the Campus Safety department may call a 24-hour haz-mat response company which can perform these specialized functions.

Lab Managers (Chemistry and Biology Departments)

  • Unless you are absolutely sure that the spill or release involves a type or quantity of a chemical or substance which does not pose an immediate health risk and does not involve chemical contamination to the body, leave the area immediately and follow the guidelines outlined above in the “General Procedures” section of this policy (above.)
  • If  you are sure that the spill or release involves a type or quantity of a chemical or substance which does not pose an immediate health risk and does not involve chemical contamination to the body:
    1. Notify others in the lab/area of the accident
    2. Isolate the area, closing doors and evacuating the immediate area if necessary
    3. Remove ignition sources and unplug nearby electrical equipment
    4. Establish exhaust ventilation, if possible, by turning on fume hoods
    5. Locate the spill kit
    6. Choose appropriate personal protective equipment (goggles, face shield, impervious gloves, lab coat, apron, etc.) Note: All lab personnel MUST be properly fit tested before using a respirator. Contact EH&S at Ext. 2244 for more information
    7. Confine and contain spill by covering or surrounding with appropriate absorbent material
    8. Neutralize acid and base spills prior to cleanup
    9. Sweep solid material into a plastic dust pan and place in a sealed 5 gallon container
    10. Wet mop spill area. Be sure to decontaminate broom, dustpan, etc.
    11. Put all contaminated items (gloves, clothing, etc.) into a sealed 5 gallon container or plastic bag
    12. Call EH&S for a special pickup

Specific Clean-up / Decontamination Procedures


  • a.     Common Acids and Bases such as Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide:
  • ·          Common Acid Spills (Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid)
    • o    If spilled/splashed on a person:
      • §   Pour sodium bicarbonate solution over someone who had acid spilled on them, not for floor/counter spills.
    • o    If spilled on a surface (counter/floor, etc):
      • §   Sodium carbonate or calcium hydroxide is recommended for neutralizing an actual acid spill.  Sand and vermiculite come in handy to control the flow around the spill.
  • ·          Common Base Spills (Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide)
    • o    Neutralize base spills with Citric Acid
  • b.     Alkali Metals (lithium, sodium, magnesium, potassium)
  • ·          Cover with contents from a Class “D” fire extinguisher
  • ·          Avoid contact with water


  • c.     White or Yellow Phosphorus:
  • ·          Blanket with wet sand or wet absorbent
  • d.     Bromine:
  • ·          Neutralize spill with a 5% solution of sodium thiosulfate
  • ·          Absorb with inert absorbent material
  • e.     Mercury:
  • ·          Use aspirator bulb or suction device to collect mercury beads (Do not use a vacuum cleaner)
  • ·          Mop up mercury with mercury decontaminating powder
  • ·          Label waste with a Hazardous Chemical Waste Tag and call EH&S for a special pickup
  • f.      Hydrofluoric Acid:
  • ·          Neutralize with soda ash or lime (or absorb spill with special HF spill pillow)
  • ·          Absorb with inert absorbent material

IF Skin Contact

NOTE:  Emergency Showers are only located on the Third floor of Bush. Persons on the second or first floors should use sinks in the floor restrooms closest to the area they are in.

  • ·          Immediately flush with copious amounts of water under an emergency shower
  • ·          Remove all clothing while under the shower
  • ·          Flush skin for 5 minutes
  • ·          Apply calcium gluconate gel (2.5%) while wearing clean impervious gloves. (If calcium gluconate gel is not available continue to flush skin until medical personnel arrive)
  • ·          Get medical attention immediately

IF Eye Contact:

  • ·          Immediately flush eyes with water under an eyewash or with bottle s of eyewash solution for 15 minutes
  • ·          Get medical attention immediately

IF Inhalation:

  • ·          Remove victim to fresh air
  • ·          Get medical attention immediately
  • ·          Inform medical personnel that injury involves hydrofluoric acid and give them a copy of the material safety data sheet

Laboratory Spill Clean-Up Kits

Every laboratory that uses chemicals must have access to a spill control kit. The keys to an effective spill kit are location and content. Spill kits should be strategically located around work areas in fixed locations so they will be easily accessible. Although most spill kit contents are common items that may be found throughout the lab, they must be consolidated into a kit for emergency use.

Spill kits can be purchased through most supply vendors that sell chemicals or safety supplies. The following is a list of recommended items to be contained in a chemical spill kit. However, it is important that spill kits be tailored to meet the specific spill control needs of each laboratory. Spill kits should be checked periodically, and restored after each use.


  • 1.     Universal spill absorbent – 1:1:1 mixture of Flor-Dri (or unscented kitty litter), sodium bicarbonate, and sand. This all purpose absorbent is good for most chemical spill including solvents, acids (not good for hydrofluoric acid), and bases.
  • 2.     Acid spill neutralizer – sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, or calcium carbonate.
  • 3.     Alkali (base) neutralizer – sodium bisulfate, Citric Acid (A 2.5 kg bottle is enough to neutralize the entire contents of almost any bottle of base)
  • 4.     Solvents/organic liquid absorbent – inert absorbents such as vermiculite, clay, sand, Flor-Dri, and Oil-Dri.
  • 5.     Bromine neutralizer – 5% solution of sodium thiosulfate and inert absorbent.
  • 6.     Hydrofluoric acid – HF compatible spill pillow or neutralize with lime and transfer to a polyethylene container.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • 1.     Goggles and face shield
  • 2.     Heavy neoprene gloves
  • 3.     Disposable lab coat and corrosives apron
  • 4.     Plastic vinyl booties
  • 5.     Dust mask/respirator (All lab personnel must be properly fit tested before using a respirator and various respirator filters should be available for specific hazards.  The user must ensure that the correct filter is placed on the respirator to protect against the hazard present.)

Clean-Up Material

  • 1.     Plastic dust pan and scoop
  • 2.     Plastic bags (30 Gallon, 3 mil thickness) for contaminated PPE
  • 3.     One plastic bucket (5 gallon polyethylene) with lid for spill and absorbent residues


  • 1.     Hydrofluoric acid antidote gel – calcium gluconate
  • 2.     Mercury spill kit – aspirator bulb and mercury decontaminating powder
  • 3.     Alkali metals – dry sand or a Class “D” fire extinguisher
  • 4.     Acid chlorides – Oil Dri, Zorb-All, or dry sand

Hazardous Spill or Release Contact Information


Emergency Response:

Winter Park Fire Department – Dial 911

Campus Safety (407) 646-2999

Incident Notification:

Safety and Emergency Planning Coordinator

(407) 646-2244 office

Florida State Warning Point

1 (800) 320-0519

EPA National Response Center

1 (800) 424-8802