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Chemical Spill

In the event of a chemical spill, use S.W.I.M.S.

Stop and think. Stop working. Stop the spill.

    • Assess the situation.
    • How big is the spill?
    • Are there any injuries associated with the spill?
    • Has a made contact with your skin or personal clothing?
    • Can it safely be cleaned? Note: follow the spill cleanup requirements listed in the section below.


Warn others

    • Alert people nearby.
    • Call 911 or X6999 if there is danger to life, health, or the environment.


           Isolate the area

    • Restrict access to those involved in the spill cleanup.
    • Keep doors closed.


Monitor yourself carefully and completely

    • Check yourself for any chemical contamination or symptoms of exposure.
    • Call 911 or X6999 if signs or symptoms of exposure develop.


Stay in or near the area until help arrives

    • Avoid spreading contamination to other areas.
    • Assign a knowledgeable person to assist emergency personnel.
    • Notify your supervisor and your safety coordinator.

Chemical spill cleanup requirements

You can clean up a chemical spill if all of the following requirements are met:

  • You are not a high school student or a participant in an internship program.
  • There is no potential for release to the environment. Note, care must be taken to avoid spreading or tracking chemical contamination to other areas.
  • There are no personal injuries resulting from the spill.
  • You know what the chemical hazards are.
  • The cleanup procedures are known and you have the proper spill cleanup materials.
  • The spill can be cleaned up safely by two people in one hour or less.
  • The spill does not involve beryllium or elemental mercury. Special cleanup and monitoring procedures are required for both beryllium and mercury spills. Moreover, mercury contamination is easily tracked to other areas.


If all of the above requirements are not met or if you have any doubts about your ability to safely and effectively clean up the spill, then

  • Leave the immediate area.
  • Close the door.
  • Stay close by and control access. Post the entrance with a warning such as "Spill – Do Not Enter" and call extension 6999 for assistance.

Other chemical spill cleanup considerations

  • Review these guidelines periodically – you must be familiar with them and know what to do before spill occurs.
  • Understand the hazards of the chemicals you use. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheets for hazards.
  • Keep spill cleanup kits in your work area. There are different types for acids, bases, and solvents.
  • Consult the Chemical Hygiene and Safety Plan for selecting and purchasing spill cleanup kits.
  • Where proper PPE to protect yourself. The minimum includes a lab coat, chemical goggles, closed toed shoes, and chemically resistant gloves rated for the chemicals of concern.
  • Ensure we waste materials are properly contained and labeled and are placed in the approved Satellite Accumulation Area.
  • Inform your supervisor.
  • You must have successfully completed EHS 348 Chemical Hygiene and Safety Training.