Laboratory Safety

Chemical Spills

Contain the spill.

Leave the area.

Emergency: eye wash, shower, and medical care.

Access MSDS.

Notify a supervisor.

Notify Environmental Health and Safety at 646-NYP-SAFE

If spill is under 500 ml (1 pint), or "small"

  • Notify Supervisor
  • Call Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) office (646-NYP-SAFE) if highly toxic, or reactive.
  • Turn off any sources of ignition (hot plates, heaters, etc.)
  • Open window for ventilation
  • Close doors to halls, offices, other labs
  • Use appropriate spill kit ( Acid, Base, Organic)

If spill is greater than 500 ml (1 pint) or "large"

  • Notify Supervisor and EHS office (646-NYP-SAFE)
  • Information to be given:
  • Location
  • Quantity
  • Materials or Substance
  • Unique Properties
  • Limit Employee Exposure.
  • If appropriate, isolate the spill by closing doors and evacuate the area.

If spill is radioactive

  • Notify Supervisor
  • Notify Radiation Safety Office (66964)
  • EHS (646-NYP-SAFE)

If spill occurs on a person or clothing

  • Drench with copious amounts of tepid water.
  • Remove clothing from affected area.
  • Continue water wash for at least 15 minutes, use the emergency shower or the eye-wash.
  • See a physician, Workforce Health and Safety or Emergency Department.
  • When immediate danger is over, notify Supervisor and complete the Hospital's Work-Related Incident Report.

TIPS for Avoiding Accidents and Spills

  • Do not smell or taste chemicals. Apparatus that can discharge toxic chemicals (vacuum pumps, distillation columns, etc.) should be vented into local exhaust.
  • Inspect gloves before use.
  • Do not allow release of toxic substances in cold rooms and warm rooms, since these have contained recirculated atmospheres.
  • Use only those chemicals for which the quality of the available ventilation system is appropriate.
  • Do NOT eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or apply cosmetics or lip balm in areas where chemicals are present. Wash hands before conducting these activities.
  • Do NOT store, handle, or consume food or beverages in storage areas, refrigerators, glassware, or utensils that are also used for laboratory operation.
  • Handle and store laboratory glassware with care to avoid damage; do not use damaged glassware. Use extra care with Dewar flasks and other evacuated glass apparatus; shield or wrap them to contain chemicals and fragments should implosion occur. Use equipment only for its designed purpose.
  • Wash areas of exposed skin thoroughly before leaving the laboratory.
  • Avoid practical jokes or other behavior that might confuse, startle, or distract another worker.
  • Do NOT use mouth suction for pipetting or starting a siphon.
  • Confine long hair and loose clothing.
  • Wear shoes at all times in the laboratory, but do not wear sandals, perforated shoes, sneakers, or any shoes made of canvas.
  • Keep the work area clean and uncluttered, with chemicals and equipment properly labeled and stored; clean up the work area on completion of an operation or at the end of each day.
  • Ensure that appropriate eye protection, where necessary, is worn by all persons, including visitors, in areas where chemicals are stored or handled.
  • Wear appropriate gloves when the potential for contact with toxic materials exists; inspect the gloves before each use, wash them before removal, and replace them periodically. DocuSign Envelope ID: A8901224-0E82-495A-A89C-A56FE8EB2688 CHP 9 of 25 (02/27/08)
  • Use appropriate respiratory equipment when air contaminant concentrations are not sufficiently restricted by engineering controls.
  • Use any other protective and emergency apparel and equipment as appropriate.
  • Wear disposable polyethylene apron over labcoat when working with carcinogens.
  • Remove laboratory coats immediately upon significant contamination.
  • Seek information and advice about hazards, plan appropriate protective procedures, and plan positioning of equipment before beginning any new operation.
  • Leave lights on, place an appropriate sign on the door, and provide for containment of toxic substances in the event of failure of a utility service (such as cooling water) in an unattended operation.
  • Use a hood for operations that might result in release of toxic chemical vapors or dust and when working with carcinogens.
  • As a rule of thumb, use a hood or other local ventilation device when working with any appreciably volatile substance with a TLV of less than 50 ppm.
  • Confirm adequate hood performance before use: keep hood closed at all times except when adjustments within the hood are being made. Keep materials stored in hoods to a minimum, and do not allow materials to block vents or airflow.
  • Leave the hood "on" when it is not in active use if toxic substances are stored in it or if it is uncertain whether adequate general laboratory ventilation will be maintained when it is "off."
  • Be aware of unsafe conditions and see to it that they are corrected when detected.
  • Limit exposure to radioactive material by working in designated area only. Store material in a designated area away from general work area. Always wear a monitoring "tag" when working with radioactive material.
  • When working with formaldehyde follow guidelines as delineated in Formaldehyde Exposure Control Plan (FECP).
  • Avoid using mercury thermometers and products when possible.

Environmental Health and Safety (All)

646-697-7233 (646-NYP-SAFE)

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7 days a week to answer your call.