Chemical Spills and Exposure

  • Research Safety & Services
  • Occupational Safety & Risk Management
  • Facility Support Services
  • Chemical Spills

    Workplaces which utilize hazardous materials or chemicals of any kind must have procedures in place to deal with dangerous situations such as spills or chemical exposures. Developing these procedures in advance can greatly reduce the risk of personnel injury while ensuring maximum safety for all laboratory workers. Laboratory staff members should clean up only small, incidental spills that constitute a minimum hazard. Large chemical spills or events where chemicals may be released to the environment must be handled by EH&S and UPD. Procedures for handling chemical spills are included on this page.

    All labs that use or store chemicals shall maintain spill control materials in the event of a liquid chemical release. Although spill control depends on the types of chemicals found stored in a lab, the following list of possible spill kit items is offered as a general guideline:

    • Neutralizing agents such as sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or sodium bisulfate, and
    • Inert absorbents such as kitty litter or vermiculite. Caution should be exercised if rags and sponges are used as some chemicals may ignite upon contact with them.
    • Vacuum line, flask and needle-nose pipette, and trap for mercury spills (if mercury is present in the lab).
    • Personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles, aprons, etc.) for the person(s) collecting the spilled material.
    • Waste disposal forms and labels, bags, a high-density polyethylene bucket and a small shovel for collection of spill clean-up materials prior to disposal with EH&S.

    Commercial spill kits including instructions, absorbents, neutralizers, and protective equipment can be purchased through a commercial laboratory supply company.

    Additionally, spill kits are available for ordering through EH&S using the Spill Kit Order Form.

    Chemical Exposures

    Always call 911 for a medical emergency. Please note that all lab staff should know the physical address of the building and lab room number. It is recommended that this information or the EH&S’s Emergency Information Sheet be posted near the lab’s phone.

    Hazardous (Chemical, Radioactive or Biological) Material Splashed in Eye:
    • Immediately flush with gently flowing, potable water for at least 15 minutes. Use emergency eyewash to do this if available.
    • Forcibly hold eye open to ensure effective rinsing behind eyelids. Have injured worker move eye side-to-side and up-down during rinsing. Remove contact lenses.
    • Report incident to supervisor and EH&S (352) 392-1591.
    • Always obtain medical attention for a hazardous material splash to the eye. The injured employee and supervisor must contact UF’s medical case management vendor, AmeriSys, by calling 1-800-455-2079. Treatment for any non-life threatening work-related injury or illness must be authorized by AmeriSys prior to obtaining medical treatment.
    Chemical Spill On Body:
    • Do not attempt to wipe chemicals off clothes. Quickly go to the safety shower or other water source. Remove contaminated clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc while rinsing.
    • Flood exposed area with running water for at least 15 minutes.
    • Place contaminated clothing in a plastic bag and dispose of as hazardous waste.
    • Review the chemical’s Safety Data Sheet or call Poison Information Center (800) 222-1222 to determine if any delayed/systemic effects could be expected (e.g. phenol).
    • Report incident to supervisor and EH&S at (352) 392-1591.
    • Obtain medical attention as required or if any evidence of chemical burns. The injured employee and supervisor must contact UF’s medical case management vendor, AmeriSys, by calling 1-800-455-2079. Treatment for any non-life threatening work-related injury or illness must be authorized by AmeriSys prior to obtaining medical treatment.

    Workers’ Compensation information can be found on UF’s HR website.

    First Aid Kits

    EH&S no longer provides First Aid Kits or refills.

    Contact one of the approved UF vendors listed below to secure the required items. For a complete First Aid Kit, please order a Class A, ANSI approved, 25-person First Aid Kit.

    Each kit should contain the following:
    • (16) 1″ x 3″ Plastic Bandages
    • (1) ½” x 5yd First Aid Tape
    • (10) Triple Antibiotic Ointment Packets
    • (10) BZK Antiseptic Towelettes
    • (1) CPR Mask with One Way Valve
    • (1) 4″ x 4″ Burn Dressing
    • (10) 0.9g First Aid/Burn Cream Packets
    • (1) 4″ x 5″ Cold Compress
    • (2) Sterile Eye Pads
    • (6) 0.9g Hand Sanitizer Packets
    • (4) Nitrile Exam Gloves
    • (1) 2″ Conforming Gauze Roll
    • (1) Scissors
    • (2) 3″ x 3″ Gauze Dressing Pads
    • (2) 5″ x 9″ Trauma Pads
    • (1) 40″ x 40″ x 56″ Triangular Sling/Bandage
    • (1) First Aid Guide
    Vendor Item Number Notes
     Fisher Scientific 19090665
    Medique Plastic 25-Person Kit
    Individual refill items are also available from Fisher Scientific.
    19090666
    Medique Metal-25 Person Kit
    Grainger 488G72 Plastic 25-Person First Aid Kit Individual refill items are also available from Grainger.
    Cintas 20529 Contact person: Michael Kerr
    Cell: 813.469.4138
    kerrm@cintas.com
    American Red Cross 762203 Refer to website for ordering
    AED Brands SKU: ABF-82222 Contact Person: Austin Hildebrandt
    813-815-6652
    ahildebrandt@aedbrands.com