From: "Wolfe-Lopez, Deborah L" <debbie.wolfe-lopez**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: FW: [DCHAS-L] [CSHEMA_LABSAFETY] Fwd: [DCHAS-L] Laboratory Spills
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:15:49 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: CO2PR0701MB792BD138032390383ACFA85F9320**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <905565336_645536556735**At_Symbol_Here**>

See answers, below


Deborah Wolfe-Lopez, MSPH

Georgia Tech

Laboratory and Chemical Safety Manager


From: Hans Nielsen [mailto:hansn**At_Symbol_Here**]
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 2:59 PM
To: LABSAFETY**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: [CSHEMA_LABSAFETY] Fwd: [DCHAS-L] Laboratory Spills


DCHAS thread that may interest many...


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Schroeder, Imke <ischroeder**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Laboratory Spills
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**

Please check our web site for recommendations at UCLA:





Imke Schroeder, Ph.D.

Research Project Manager, UC Center of Laboratory Safety

Adjunct Associate Professor, Dep. of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA

501 Westwood Plaza, 4th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90095-1605

Phone:(310) 794-5369





From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Kohler, Christopher E
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 5:01 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Laboratory Spills


Greetings all,


I'd like to gather some data regarding how you handle laboratory spills at your workplace.


        Who handles incidental laboratory spills?  .  Depends on the size and nature of the spill as well as the skill level of the lab staff involved.

Trained laboratory personnel? Yes Or a company/school Hazmat team?Yes- Bigger or more dangerous materials Or the fire department? Our Atlanta Fire Department will control the situation and make sure that no one needs rescuing, but spill clean up is left to us.  Very large spills are cleaned up by private contractors (multi gallon amounts, hard to reach places)


        Are there any restrictions regarding the quantity? such as those less than 1-2 liters vs. 2 liters or more?  We just tell the lab staffers- if its more than you can handle yourself safely.  For example- I have cleaned up relatively small amounts of minimally hazardous material that were sprayed over a large area and also liter amounts of NaOH solution that was just too large and too dangerous  for the lab to clean up themselves.


        Are there any restrictions on where they are permitted to cleanup a spill? Such as inside vs. outside the fume hood? No we just tell them don't do it if it makes you feel unsafe.  In the end, we are going to remove the waste from spill clean-up anyway: they are not going to keep the spill a secret, if that was their concern.


        Are there any restrictions on the type of spills that someone is permitted to clean up? such as cleanup of corrosives? or cleanup of toxic chemicals?

Again, we tell them not to clean up anything that makes them feel unsafe.  Calling EHS might be determined by the need to wear a respirator to do the clean-up: Lab staff don't normally have them here.  EHS does. If they have been trained in the hazards of the material, they should already have an idea of whether or not they are going to clean up a spill of a particular material themselves or call for help


        Do you provide spill kits for your laboratories?  No, but we do advise them on what should be in them.  Some departments here make up their own and give them out to all their labs


        Do you provide spill response training for lab personnel?  For small spills, yes.  Most of our training is geared toward how to decide when to call for help and who to call when you decide that you need it. All chemical safety and haz-waste  personnel are 40 hour Hazwoper trained


Any other comments?  EHS cleans up mercury spills and uses a monitor to determine when an area is clean.  

Make sure that lab staff appreciate that used spill clean- up materials are as hazardous as the original spilled material.  These materials must be disposed of as hazardous waste/ through EHS and  not  go out in the regular trash.  Here at tech spill clean-up materials usually end up in regular trash can liners which may be mistaken as regular trash by the custodians.


Feel free to respond directly to me if necessary.


Many thanks,




Christopher E. Kohler

Laboratory Safety Manager

University Environmental Health and Safety

Indiana University

1514 E Third Street

Bloomington, IN 47405

(812) 855-5454




Hans O. Nielsen,CFPS
UH EHSO Education Coordinator

University of Hawaii Environmental Health and Safety Office
2040 East-West Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96822

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.