Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms Safety Policies and Procedures Manual

CHEMICAL / HAZARDOUS MATERIAL SAFETY
5.62
Revised 4-21

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety
   509-335-3041

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Chemical Spill Control

Reporting Spills

When chemicals are spilled or are otherwise released from containment, the laboratory or shop supervisor is responsible for ensuring that releases are appropriately reported, cleaned up, and disposed of.

Applicability

This section includes procedures for reporting, containing, cleaning up, and disposing of uncontrolled releases of chemicals.

Radioactive Materials

This procedure does not apply to spills of radioactive substances. During working hours, contact the Radiation Safety Office (RSO) for assistance with radioactive releases; telephone 509-335-8916. Telephone 911 or the Facilities Services dispatcher at 509-335-9000 during evenings and weekends.

Refer to SPPM 9.40 for decontamination procedures for radioactive substances.

Biohazardous Materials

This procedure does not apply to spills, releases, or improper disposal of biological materials, e.g., biohazardous waste, dead animals. Call 911 or the local county/area emergency response number for assistance with these releases (see SPPM 4.24).

Who May Clean Up Spills

Personnel may clean up a chemical spill in their immediate work area if all of the following conditions exist:

  • It is safe for the employee to clean up material.
      
  • The chemical spill took place in their work space and in their presence.
      
  • The employee is trained to work with the material that is spilled.
      
  • The employee is trained to clean up chemical spills. See Training. (See also Mercury Spills.)
      
  • The employee is able to clean up the spill with the personal protective equipment (PPE) they normally wear.
      
  • The employee is able to clean up the spill in ten minutes.
      
  • The employee does not create a situation which is hazardous to themselves or other employees.
      
  • The employee feels comfortable cleaning up the material.
      
  • A written emergency plan is in place for handling spills or releases. Refer to the Laboratory Safety Manual and the department’s Accident Prevention Plan for emergency plan requirements.

If any of these conditions are not met, personnel must seek assistance.

Mercury Spills

NOTE: Only an employee who is specifically trained is allowed to clean up a mercury spill. Mercury spill cleanup also requires specific equipment and materials.

Outside the Immediate Work Area

University personnel from locations outside the immediate work area may not respond to or clean up a chemical spill unless they are trained and certified at the Technician level through annual completion of an EPA/DOE approved and certified course. (29 CFR 1910.120; WAC 296-824) Campus Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) spill responders have completed such training. A supervisor may not identify an employee as a chemical spill management employee unless the employee has completed certified training.

Training

For information concerning laboratory-specific chemical spill training, see the applicable principal investigator (PI) or campus EH&S or Facilities department.

For information concerning certified chemical spill management training, see the applicable campus EH&S or Facilities department.

Campus Contacts

  • WSU Pullman EH&S: telephone 509-335-3041
      
  • WSU Spokane EH&S: telephone 509-358-7621  
      
    WSU Spokane EH&S also provides information and assistance to WSU Health Sciences—Yakima (which includes College of Nursing—Yakima and College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences—Yakima).
      
  • WSU Tri-Cities EH&S: telephone 509-372-7163
      
  • WSU Vancouver EH&S: telephone 360-546-9706
      
  • WSU Everett Facilities: telephone 425-405-1566

Personnel at WSU locations not listed above may contact WSU Pullman EH&S for assistance.

Assistance
Pullman Campus / Whitman County

If a chemical spill or release exceeds the capabilities or training of Pullman campus or Whitman County work area staff, evacuate personnel from the affected area and telephone 911 to report the spill or release.

Keep personnel from re-entering the affected area.

Pull the fire alarm if the circumstances are serious or grave, and a fire alarm is present.

NOTE: If mercury is spilled in a nonpublic area at WSU Pullman or Whitman County during normal working hours, do not call 911. Contact EH&S; telephone 509-335-3041. A nonpublic area is a room to which access can be controlled by some means, i.e., a door. A public area is an area such as a hallway, lobby, or sidewalk.

Research and Extension Centers

If a chemical spill or release exceeds the capabilities or training of research and extension center (REC) personnel, evacuate personnel from the affected area. If circumstances are serious or grave, immediately call 911. Otherwise, keep personnel from re-entering the affected area, control access, and call for assistance using the applicable Hazardous Material Release Call List.

WSU Spokane

If a chemical spill or release exceeds the capabilities or training of WSU Spokane area staff, evacuate personnel from the affected area and contact Campus Safety and Security; telephone 509-358-7995. Campus Safety and Security contacts WSU Spokane EH&S or an emergency responder to oversee the cleanup and assists in securing the area.

Evacuate the immediate area of the spill and keep personnel from entering the area. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible to Campus Safety and Security, EH&S, or the emergency responder to assist in the cleanup.

Call 911 if the spill is associated with an unknown chemical, a fire, a significant injury, or it may pose a threat to the public.

WSU Tri-Cities

Spills at the WSU Tri-Cities campus must be reported to the campus emergency line; telephone 509-372-7234. WSU Tri-Cities EH&S staff respond and determine proper cleanup methods.

Evacuate the immediate area of the spill (e.g., the laboratory) and keep personnel from re-entering the area until EH&S arrives. Campus Security may be requested to assist with isolating the area.

Call 911 if the spill is associated with fire or significant injury, or if it may pose a threat to the public.

WSU Vancouver

If a chemical spill or release exceeds the capability or training of WSU Vancouver area laboratory and/or Facilities staff, evacuate personnel from the affected area and contact the campus emergency line; telephone 360-546-9001; pager 360-690-1527. WSU Vancouver EH&S staff respond and determine proper cleanup.

Keep personnel from re-entering the immediate area of the spill (e.g. the laboratory) until EH&S arrives. Public Safety may be requested to assist with isolating the area.

Call 911 if the spill is associated with fire or significant injury, or if it may pose a threat to the public.

WSU Everett

Spills at the WSU Everett campus must be reported to the campus emergency line; telephone 425-314-9514. WSU Everett Facilities staff respond and determine proper cleanup methods.

Evacuate the immediate area of the spill and keep personnel from re-entering the area until Facilities arrives. Campus Security may be requested to assist with isolating the area.

Call 911 if the spill is associated with fire or significant injury, or if it may pose a threat to the public.

Emergency Call

When placing a 911 emergency call or call to the local county/area emergency response number, use a campus telephone rather than a cellular telephone, if possible. Provide the following information:

  • Caller’s name;
      
  • Time the release or spill occurred;
      
  • Location of the release, i.e., building and room number;
      
  • Nature of the emergency, e.g., fire, spill, etc.;
      
  • Names and quantities of chemicals involved, if known;
      
  • Location where the responders will be met by the reporting person or departmental personnel; and
      
  • Telephone number of the safe location where the call originates.

Answer any questions from the dispatcher or emergency responder. Stay on the telephone until the dispatcher or emergency responder says to hang up.

Cleanup and Disposal

Laboratory or service workers who meet the training requirements under Training may use neutralizing or absorbent materials, or mechanical devices to clean up the contaminant.

Place cleanup materials and contaminants in appropriate waste containers and dispose of as required (see SPPM 5.66).

Reporting

Trained laboratory or service workers performing spill cleanup must report the spill to the campus EH&S or Facilities department to properly document the incident.

The applicable campus EH&S and Facilities departments are solely responsible for reporting chemical releases to regulatory authorities when required by law.

Reoccupation

Prior to reoccupation, the applicable campus EH&S or Facilities initiates appropriate decontamination procedures to ensure that the health and safety of future occupants of the site will not be compromised. After decontamination, the applicable campus EH&S or Facilities performs further environmental monitoring to ensure that the area is suitable for reoccupancy.

Records Maintenance

Regulatory agencies require that the University maintain records of spill management activity. Departments performing spill control maintain the records; otherwise, such records are maintained by campus EH&S or Facilities, as applicable (see BPPM 90.01).

Spill management records must include the following information:

  • Whether spills of regulated materials above threshold quantities were reported to the proper authorities in a timely manner.
      
  • Whether residual contamination of the environment is present.
      
  • Whether illness or injury resulted as a consequence of the spill.
      
  • Whether personnel who responded to and/or cleaned up the spill were properly trained and were allowed access to medical surveillance.
      
  • Whether the clean up residuals were properly managed.
      
  • What actions were taken to minimize the chance of future occurrence of similar release(s).
Medical Surveillance Records

Human Resource Services (HRS) maintains medical surveillance records for employees who may be exposed to chemicals through cleanup or other activities.

Contact HRS for assistance; telephone 509-335-4521.