|Approved on January 6, 2004||Signatures and dates
on archival copy
Director of Environmental Health and Safety
|Herman ("Butch") Hill, Chair
Policy and Procedure Review Committee
Vice President for Administration
All spaces handling, storing, or using liquid hazardous materials shall have available enough absorbent to mitigate a spill equal to the largest size container of liquid in the space.
If the containers of chemicals around you are not familiar, then any spill is of concern.
Make the initial assessment of the situation with your senses:
If all of the above questions' answers are "no," then it is possible the spill should be considered insignificant (even though it may have chronic health or environmental significance). The last question is based on the fact that chemicals in laboratories are more likely to be concentrated or highly reactive than the commercial and consumer products commonly found in kitchens.
If all of the above questions' answers are "no," then you can usually take the time to read the label or MSDS, and from that information decide whether the spill should be considered insignificant and cleaned up, or the spill should be considered significant and help should be called.
If you are familiar with the contents of containers and the environment where a spill occurs, you can choose a commensurate response based on your knowledge about the chemicals. For example, the chemical may smell bad or burn the eyes and throat, but you may know that these mild symptoms occur even at concentrations that are not harmful. In this case, you would consider the spill to be insignificant. If a chemical is regularly used, then its properties are likely to be well known.
This very same chemical spill might well be a significant spill to a different person, who did not have the detailed knowledge about that chemical. For the purpose of this procedure, if it is necessary for additional help to be called, consider the spill to be significant.
The acronym CARE is an easy way to remember what to do. The procedure may not be in the same order. Close the door, activate the Alarm, Report the incident, and Evacuate the building.
If it is believed that an alarm response is not warranted, and it is decided not to pull the fire alarm or call 911, seek the opinion of the immediate supervisor or contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS): phone 593-1666 and ask for a person in charge.
If individuals are familiar with the spilled material and are comfortable with cleaning the material up, it should be cleaned up cautiously.
If the material is well isolated, but it is known the room is not safe to be occupied, EHS will assist in contacting a chemical or radioactive spill cleanup team. In this case, clearly label all entrances to the space with signs "Do Not Enter, Chemical (or Radioactive) Spill."
Things to consider in this situation:
The spill situation requires judgment calls. Always err on the safe side. Do not take chances.
The Fire Chief, Ohio University Police Department, and Environmental Health and Safety have the emergency pager number to contact a contractor for emergency chemical or radioactive spill cleanup.
Dick Piccard revised this file (https://www.ohio.edu/policy/44-106.html) on March 23, 2016.
Please E-mail any comments or suggestions to "email@example.com".