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1) If a Co-Worker is Exposed to a Hazardous Chemical:
a) Give the location
of the emergency- Chemistry Building
Specify the Wing, and room number
a) Give the extent and nature of injury, if known.
b) Give any details that may be important in a rescue situation - what chemicals are involved, toxic fumes involved, etc.
2) If a Chemical is Spilled, With No Personnel Injured:
a. General information regarding chemical spills
- Get away from the area until proper provisions can be made.
- Notify personnel in the immediate area of the chemical release.
- Evacuate all non-essential personnel.
- If the chemical spill is large, in a poorly ventilated area or is extremely toxic (that is, if it is beyond the capabilities of the attending personnel or of the equipment at hand), call
for the University's HazMat Team for assistance
- Leave on or establish exhaust ventilation. If you need additional ventilation contact the Chemistry Business Office at 5-3335 and an industrial exhaust fan can be provided.
- Collect necessary supplies to perform containment and cleanup. It is important to stop the flow of the chemical to prevent further contamination. This is done most effectively by use of commercially available dikes and booms composed of a universal spill control product. Sand may be used, though less effectively.
- Once the spill is contained, cleanup should commence immediately. Spill control products must be available to all personnel at all hours. These may include vermiculite, sand or commercially available universal spill control products. Never attempt to clean up a spill that is beyond the capacity of the spill control products that you have on hand.
- Cost effectiveness is also of importance when selecting a chemical spill control product. Not only the initial cost of the material, but also the cost of waste disposal must be considered. Absorbents that are not as efficient at absorbing liquids create greater volumes of waste material and thus may not be the best choice, despite the lower purchase price. Be cautious in the use of paper towels to clean up spilled chemicals. Many chemicals react adversely with combustible materials and a fire could result.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment, as stipulated by the Material Safety Data Sheet. Never attempt to clean up a spill if the appropriate personal protective equipment is not available. Again, if specialized respiratory protection devices are needed for cleaning up chemical spills involving highly toxic chemicals or large quantities of material where the danger of high vapor levels exists, please contact the Business Office at
and the University's HazMat Team can be called to assist.
- Contaminated spill control products must not be placed in the trash can. All contaminated materials are considered hazardous waste and must be treated accordingly. These materials must be placed in suitable containers and tagged for waste disposal.
- All chemical spills involving materials which are regulated, extremely toxic or malodorous must be reported to the Safety Officer at 845-2233.
- All spill control products should be restocked after the incident is under control.
b. Reacting to the primary hazard of the chemical spill
Your reaction to a chemical spill should depend on the nature of the spilled material. The following instructions are arranged according to the specific chemical class hazard. Spills involving multiple chemicals must be approached with extreme caution due to the possibility of reactions between incompatible agents.
i. Primary Hazard: Material is Flammable Liquid
- Alert any nearby co-workers of the danger.
- All ignition sources must be extinguished IMMEDIATELY.
- Avoid breathing vapors; if the area is inappropriate, an air-purifying respirator may be needed. The material Safety Data Sheet for the spilled material must be available and should be consulted as to the appropriate level of personal protective equipment.
- Flammable solvents may be absorbed with dry absorbents, such as commercially available universal spill control products, vermiculite or sand.
- The contaminated absorbent must be picked up using spark-free utensils. Never use a metal shovel when picking up absorbents soaked with flammable materials; a chance spark would ignite the material.
- The contaminated absorbent must be classified and treated as a hazardous waste. This means it must be bagged and tagged for waste disposal. Rags and towels used for cleanup must also be treated as hazardous waste. None of these materials may be placed in regular trash cans.
ii. Primary Hazard: Material is an Extremely Toxic Liquid
- If the spill is controllable and in a well-ventilated area, it may be cleaned up by laboratory personnel using appropriate personal protective equipment.
- The Material Safety Data Sheet for the spilled chemical must be available and should be consulted as to the appropriate level of protective equipment and correct spill control measures.
- For spill control and clean-up, various dry absorbents may be used. These include commercially available universal spill control products, vermiculite and sand.
- Contaminated absorbent, and other materials used for clean-up must be treated as hazardous waste. These materials must be bagged and tagged for disposal. If vapors are still evolving from these materials, the entire contents should be placed in a continuously ventilating mechanical fume hood until the Office of Environmental Health and Safety is available for waste collection.
- If the spill is large and/or in a poorly ventilated area, immediately evacuate the area. Notify all nearby personnel of the chemical release. Do not attempt to clean up the spill before you have obtained appropriate protective equipment and a Material Safety Data Sheet for the spilled chemical.
- If a large portion of the building could become potentially involved, alert the assigned Floor Monitor and/or Personnel Coordinator for your floor so that a general evacuation may be called if deemed necessary. From a safe location, alert the Chemistry Business Office of the incident by calling:
and the University's Emergency HazMat Response Team can be activated.
iii. Primary Hazard: The Material is a Corrosive Liquid
- Two choices for clean up are available for corrosive substances - neutralization or absorption.
- Small acid spills will be easier to clean up if the chemical is neutralized first by applying sodium bicarbonate or a similar weak base, and allowing reaction to occur. The neutralized material can then be swept up and disposed via regular waste disposal or through the sewage system, if the quantity is not large.
- Small caustic spills can be neutralized by the addition of citric acid, or other similar weak acid. The reacted material can then be swept up and disposed of via regular waste collection or the sewage system, if the quantities are not large.
- Neutralization is useful on small spills where it is easy to check for completion of the neutralization reaction. This is done by use of litmus paper for neutralization of caustics, and by completion of reaction in the case of acidic spills - when the fizzing stops after the bicarbonate is added, the reaction is complete. Addition of a neutralizing agent will also liberate energy as heat. The result can be violent sputtering of the reacting materials, which can create new problems during the clean-up operation.
- Dry absorbents may be used on either acidic or basic spills, and are more effective than neutralization in the case of large spills. Materials suitable for use as absorbents include commercially available spill control products, vermiculite, and sand.
- Spills involving hydrofluoric acid deserve special attention. Silicon is a major component of traditional spill control products (sand, vermiculite) and reacts adversely with hydrofluoric acid, resulting in the release of noxious gases. These materials should not be used to clean up hydrofluoric acid spills. Instead, commercially available universal spill control products should be immediately available wherever the potential of a hydrofluoric acid spill exists.
iv. Spills Involving Solid Chemicals
- Solid spills can normally be swept up with a broom and placed in a suitable waste container and tagged for disposal.
- Dry chemicals that are oxidizers must not be placed in contact with any combustible material such as paper towels and other paper trash. They should be bagged and tagged for disposal.
- Dry chemicals that are extremely toxic must be approached with great care. Make certain that the Material Safety Data Sheet is consulted and that appropriate personal protective equipment is used. When sweeping up the material, do so gently so as not to create a dust. The collected waste should then be placed in a suitable container and tagged for disposal.
- Dry chemicals that are air or water reactive must be handled cautiously. Spills involving these materials require specialized attention. Be absolutely certain that you know the appropriate procedure for handling these materials if you are using them!
v. Spills Involving Mercury
- Because mercury has no detectable odor or warning properties, spills involving even a small amount of mercury and its associated vapor cause great concern. Mercury is dense and highly mobile and creeps quickly into crevices and cracks in flooring and lab benches, where it remains and slowly vaporizes until gone.
- Small spills of mercury can be collected using an aspirator or vacuum device. Alternatively, the mercury can be gathered through the use of a commercially available amalgamating powder and the product picked up, placed in a suitable container and tagged and bagged for disposal.
- Large spills of mercury require extreme caution. In this case, the mercury vacuum cleaner that is kept in the stockroom must be used. The instructions for use of the vacuum are included with it and are attached with this document.
MERCURY RECOVERY VACUUM
(Hako Minuteman MRS-1)
TO USE VACUUM
1. The mercury recovery vacuum should be
a) fully assembled when you pick up from the research stockroom, 014
b) have intakes sealed and no attachments attached. If so, attach the plastic collection jar to the mercury separator. Remove the plug from the tank intake and insert the separator.
2 Plug in electric cord and turn on vacuum on. Spray aerosol anti-static spray into floor tool for 2 - 3 seconds. This will coat the inside of the wand assembly, hose and separator, reducing static electricity during the liquid mercury pickup.
3. Vacuum up the spilled mercury or mercury oxide waste. Do not use the vacuum for general cleaning, only for mercury spills.
TO CLEAN THE VACUUM UNIT
You will be responsible for cleaning the vacuum after each use and for reassembling it according to the following instructions.
4. After the spill is cleaned up, remove the wand assembly or other pickup tools from the hose and place the tools in the plastic bag provided.
5. Remove the hose from the separator, insert the plugs provided at each end of the hose and place in the plastic bag with the tools.
6. Remove the collection jar from the separator and cap the jar until the contents can be transferred into a container for waste disposal. Once the waste is transferred into a waste container it must be properly tagged for waste disposal.
7. Leave the separator on the tank assembly; plug the openings of the separator with caps provided.
8. Unplug electric cord from wall. Remove vacuum lid assembly.
9. Take elastic band of top filter bag (white Dacron) and snap it over the gasket rim of the filter unit. Remove the filter unit, with white filter bag attached.
10. Remove the bottom, disposable filter protector bag (brown paper), by reaching down to the center of the bag and pulling it inside out towards you. Gently remove the elastic band from around the vacuum assembly, do this without snapping the elastic. Place this filter protector in the disposable plastic bag provided.
11. Remove the collector bag itself from the bottom of the vacuum by gently pushing the collar of the filter bag down and off the intake tube. Place one of the "mercury caution" decals over the bag opening and remove the filter bag from the vacuum tank. Place the collector bag in the disposable plastic bag with the filter protector.
12. Wipe down the inside of the vacuum with damp disposable towels. Tag and dispose of these, along with the other contaminated items, for waste collection.
TO REASSEMBLE THE VACUUM UNIT (See Chart 8)
13. Open the folds of a new collector bag and insert into the vacuum tank. Place the cardboard collar over the intake tube and pull the collar over the tube until the rubber gasket is past the ring on the end of the tube.
14. Place a new brown paper
filter protector into the tank and snap the elastic band around the rim of the
15. Place a new white Dacron filter into the tank and snap elastic around the rim.
16. Place bag frame with ring side down into the Dacron filter.
17. Replace the filter unit with gasket seating around tank rim.
18. Replace vacuum lid assembly, securing the two side clasps.
1. Lid Assembly