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hazardous material spill procedures

 

Hazardous Materials Spill Procedures


Notes and Precautions: Accidents involving hazardous chemicals require action to prevent fire, explosion, injury, death, property damage, or harm to the environment. The cleanup of a chemical spill should only be done by knowledgeable and experienced personnel. Contingency Plans have been developed for each of Tulane’s facilities. Contact OEHS for details (downtown 988-5486/uptown 865-5307).

MINOR CHEMICAL SPILLS:

A minor chemical spill is one that the on-site staff are capable of handling safely without the assistance of OEHS and other emergency response personnel. All other chemical spills are considered major. Chemical storage and use areas should be equipped with spill kits and absorbents for cleanup of minor spills, as well as personal protective equipment to be worn by cleanup personnel.

  • Turn off or remove sources of ignition if the spilled material is flammable.
  • Confine the spill, if possible, to prevent spread or further contamination (e.g., upright spilled container, close doors, pull down sash of hood, etc.).
  • Alert people in the immediate area of the spill and if necessary, evacuate the spill area.
  • Notify the area supervisor.
  • Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for spill cleanup procedures.
  • Avoid breathing vapors from the spill. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety goggles, and lab coat or apron.
  • Absorb and/or neutralize the spill with appropriate spill kit or absorbents. (Place absorbent, vermiculite, spill booms, spill pillows, cat litter, or, in certain cases, towels, around the spill to form an outside barrier or dike. Then absorb the contained material.)
    1. NEUTRALIZATION OF ACIDS:  Neutralize acids by adding sodium carbonate or a commercial acid neutralizer to the spill.  Both are available in the OEHS waste rooms located in the Medical School and Stern Hall.
    2. NEUTRALIZATION OF CAUSTICS (BASES):  Neutralize bases by adding citric acid or a commercial caustic neutralizer.  Both are available in the OEHS waste rooms located in the Medical School and Stern Hall.
    3. NEUTRALIZATION OF FORMALDEHYDE AND FORMALIN:  This may be accomplished by adding sodium bisulfite, also available in the OEHS waste rooms.

      Information on the neutralization of other kinds of spills will be provided by OEHS.
  • Collect residue, place in labeled container, and dispose of as hazardous waste.
  • Clean spill area with water.
  • Dispose of or clean personal protective equipment.
  • Wash hands and exposed skin with soap and water after cleanup.

MAJOR CHEMICAL SPILLS:

  • Alert people in the affected area to evacuate and obtain MSDS.
  • Turn off or remove sources of ignition if spilled material is flammable.
  • Confine the spill, if possible, to prevent spread or further contamination (e.g., upright spilled container, close doors, pull down sash of hood, etc.).
  • Notify the area supervisor, OEHS (downtown 988-5486/uptown 865-5307), and Tulane Police/Public Safety.
    When reporting the incident, provide the following information:
        Name and phone number of caller
        Name and type of material.
        Known hazards of material.
        Amount of the material spilled.
        Location of the spill (room number and department if available).
        Whether the spilled material is a solid or a liquid.
        Brief description of the occurrence.
  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and if possible, remove them from the spill area.
  • Wait for OEHS to respond to contain, remove, and dispose of the spilled material. (Note: Personnel from the spill area may be required to provide support to OEHS personnel in the uncontaminated area.)

MERCURY SPILLS:

  • Ventilate area to remove mercury vapor.
  • Wear personal protective equipment including gloves.
  • Cleanup gross spills with pipette and suction bulb.
  • Collect elemental mercury, broken thermometers, used personal protective equipment, etc. and place in containers designated for hazardous waste.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after cleanup.

Additional Site Instructions:

  • Do not work alone in laboratories; notify Tulane Police/Public Safety when you work weekends or holidays.
  • Have appropriate spill kits available for types of chemicals used or handled, and know where the spill kits are located.
  • Have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) available for all hazardous chemicals in the work area.

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