Faculty and staff must be familiar with the hazardous materials and hazardous situations that exist in their laboratory. New employees must be trained in the use of hazardous materials and situations within the first few weeks on the job. Each laboratory must develop and maintain a list of hazardous materials such as, “acetone, 4 liters, 237 King Hall.”
Faculty and staff working in laboratories should make themselves familiar with the location and use of emergency chemical spill equipment. This includes the location of chemical spill kits, personal protective equipment and first aid supplies.
Chemical Spill Release
Small spills involve low volumes of less hazardous chemicals (e.g., not highly flammable or highly volatile toxic materials). These spills should be cleaned up by lab personnel or other staff that have received required training (i.e., Hazard Communication, Hazardous Waste Awareness, and on-the-job department training related to hazardous materials used in the lab), have appropriate PPE, and have sufficient information about the material spilled (e.g., Safety Data Sheet).
Spill kits should contain, at a minimum, the following:
- Protective clothing.
- Chemical absorbent material.
- Acid/base neutralization chemicals.
- Polypropylene squeegee.
- Drain stopper (or absorbent sock to place around drain).
- Polypropylene pan and broom.
- Tongs (for handling broken glass)
- Mercury sorb/amalgam for labs using mercury or mercury containing instruments and thermometers.
- Barricade or caution signs.
Small spill response procedures:
- Put on appropriate PPE.
- Contain the spill; protect any floor drains or exterior storm drains.
- Pick up broken glass with tongs or a dustpan and hand broom.
- Use absorbents to neutralize/clean up the spill.
- Place neutralized material/saturated absorbents in a trash bag or other container that will contain fluid.
- Place and fill out a hazardous waste label for the container.
- Notify EHS of the spill by calling 785-532-5856.
- Fill out a pickup request for the container at www.ksu.edu/safety.
Spills or releases of highly hazardous material, such as toxic or flammable gas, air or water reactive chemicals, explosive chemicals, etc., should not be cleaned up by laboratory personnel. When a highly hazardous material is spilled, call 911 for University Police (alt: 785-532-6412).
Large spill response procedure:
- Evacuate the laboratory, leaving fume hoods on and opening their sashes and closing all doors and windows.
- Alert all personnel in adjoining rooms to leave the area.
- Call 911.
- All affected personnel should meet at a safe location and await emergency response personnel. Those who have been exposed to chemicals will be evaluated by Emergency Medical Technicians from the local hospital.
- While waiting for emergency response, retrieve a copy of all relevant SDSs.
- Notify the laboratory PI.
- Provide all requested information to the Fire Department and EHS personnel, such as the name of the chemical that was spilled/released and quantity.
The primary concerns in biological spill cleanup are to prevent further contamination and exposure to the hazardous material. The general procedure for spill cleanup is to protect yourself, contain the spill and secure the area, disinfect the spill, clean up debris, dispose of the material, and clean yourself up.
The components of a biological spill kit are as follows:
- Disinfectant solution appropriate to the material handled in lab (10% bleach, 70% ethanol, etc.)
- Mechanical device for handling debris
- Absorbent material
- Biohazard bags
Biological Spills in BSL-1 Labs
The hazards associated with BSL-1 materials are minimal. Cleanup procedures are necessary, however, to prevent further contamination.
- Notify laboratory personnel in the area and restrict access to the spill area to prevent further contamination.
- Get the Spill Kit and put on the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): lab coat, eye protection, and gloves.
- Place a paper towel or some other absorbent paper product over the spill.
- Spray the paper towel or other absorbent with a fresh 10% bleach and water solution or equivalent.
- Allow the absorbent material and sterilization compound to set on the spill for five to fifteen minutes, depending on the size of the spill.
- During the five to fifteen minute sterilization period, prepare the red biohazard bag by opening the bag and folding it down from the top so that a wide opening is created and contamination of the outside bag surfaces during filling is prevented.
- When the five to fifteen minute sterilization time is up, put the soaked towels or absorbent material in the biohazard bag. If broken glass or sharps are present use a mechanical device to handle the contaminated material. Wipe up any remaining spill residue with clean paper towels and place them in the biohazard bag.
- Clean the spill area again with the fresh 10% bleach and water solution or equivalent, placing the paper towels in the biohazard bag when finished.
- Remove gloves, taking care not to touch the outside surfaces of the gloves with your bare hands, then place them in the biohazard bag.
- Wash hands, thoroughly.
- Dispose of the waste as biohazard waste.
Biological Spills in BSL-2 Labs
The primary hazards associated with working in BSL-2 laboratories are accidental percutaneous or mucous membrane exposures, or ingestion of infectious material. A spill increases the risk of these hazards by potential introducing broken glass, aerosols, and challenges to containing the material. If you need help to clean up the spill, call EHS at 785-532-5856. BSL-2 cleanup procedures are the same as BSL-1 procedures except for the following:
- Take special care when handling sharps.
- If aerosols may have been generated by the spill or if the spill is found within a centrifuge, all personnel should leave the area or the centrifuge should be closed immediately. Wait 30 minutes for the aerosols to dissipate before proceeding in clean up.
Biological Spills in BSL3 Labs
Except for the most minor of spills, the Radiation Safety Office MUST be contacted. Work involving unsealed radioactive sources should occur over absorbent paper or trays to contain any potential spills. In the event of a spill outside of these protective barriers, care should be taken to not spread the contamination. This includes blotting and not wiping the spill, containing it to as small of an area as possible and closing but not leaving the area to prevent tracking the material over a wider area. Keep in mind the chemical and physical properties of the material before attempting to remove it.