SECTION X - CHEMICAL SPILLS 

General Information 

Anticipate spills by having the appropriate safety equipment on hand. 

If a spill occurs, immediately alert personnel in the area and do what is necessary to protect life.  Confine the spill if possible. 

Call for assistance, especially if the spill involves corrosives, highly toxic, highly reactive, or reproductive hazard chemicals: 

  • DIAL 911 IF FIRE OR MEDICAL EMERGENCY!
  • Safety & Security (24 Hr.). at x3333
  • Health & Safety Office at x3775 

Safety & Security and The Health and Safety Office (which work in a cooperative, inter-departmental nature), or most individual chemical-using departments are equipped to handle many spills that may occur at the college.  If there is the slightest doubt about how to proceed, do not hesitate to call for assistance. 

For specific spill cleanup information, contact your Lab Supervisor or OHS. 

Spill Cleanup Supplies 

Small spills of chemicals that do not pose a fire, toxic, or corrosive hazard, may be cleaned up by the properly-trained laboratory worker.  Use an absorbent material that will neutralize the spill if available.  Examples of spill cleanup materials include: 

  • trisodium phosphate
  • sand
  • sodium bicarbonate for acids
  • powdered citric acid for bases
  • "Oil-Dri," "Zorb-All," "Speedi-Dri"
  • paper towels

A dustpan and brush should be used and rubber gloves and goggles should be worn during the cleanup.  Decontaminate area with soap and water after cleanup.  Place residue in a container for waste collection. 

Notify all personnel in the area if a flammable, carcinogenic, reactive, toxic, or reproductive hazard is spilled.  Extinguish flames and all other sources of ignition (such as brush-type motors.)  Maintain fume hood ventilation, vacate the area and call for assistance. 

Especially Hazardous Spills 

The following compounds are very hazardous.  You should not clean them up yourself.

  • aromatic amines

  • nitrocompounds

  • bromine

  • carbon disulfide

  • hydrazine

  • cyanides

  • nitriles

  • ethers

  • organic halides

If you spill an acutely toxic material listed in Appendix B, immediately contact Safety & Security (-3333) and Health & Safety (-3775)  

Small spills of acid chloride should be absorbed with "Oil-Dry," "Zorb-All," "Speedi-Dry" or other clay type absorbent.  Avoid contact with skin.  Place residue in container for waste collection by OHS. 

Smother alkali metal spills with powdered graphite or "Met-L-X."

White Phosphorus should be smothered with wet sand or wet absorbent. For specific cleanup information, contact OHS.

Gary Lee
Director of Environmental Health
4601 College Blvd.
Farmington, NM  87401
(505) 566-3063 or (505) 566-3190