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Chemical Spill Emergency Procedures

Chemical Spill

  • Alert personnel in the immediate vicinity.
  • Confine the spill, if possible to do so without endangering yourself or other personnel.

o   Keep yourself between the spill and an exit while attempting to confine the spill to avoid being trapped.

o    Close doors to prevent spread of vapors into adjoining rooms and corridors.

o    Do not use light switches and avoid unplugging equipment

  • Evacuate the emergency area, if needed. If in doubt, evacuate the building. To evacuate a building, pull the nearest fire alarm pull station on your way out, and follow the building evacuation procedure.
  • Summon Aid - From a safe location, notify or have others notify emergency responders immediately. Dial 911. Answer any questions from the operator as best as you can and do not hang up until they do.

Chemical Splashes in the Eyes

  • Immediately wash the eyes with potable water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Continuously encourage the victim to keep his/her eyes open and to roll his/her eyes while irrigating.
  • Do not use any substance other than potable water or eyewash solution to wash the eyes.
  • Get medical assistance.

Chemical Splashes on the Body

  • Flush the splashed area with large amounts of potable water.  Never use anything other than water or mild soap and water to clean chemicals from the skin.
  • Remove protective eyewear under the emergency shower as quickly as possible when chemicals have entered the eyes. In cases where the eyewear has not been breached by the chemical, remove the protective eyewear after head and face have been thoroughly washed.
  • Wash with potable water for 15 minutes or longer. Wash any part of the skin that may have had chemical contact or contact with contaminated wash water. Remove any clothing which may have come in contact with the chemical or contaminated wash water under the emergency shower.
  • Washing should give special attention to areas that may by missed such as underneath the earlobes, underneath the arms, the crotch, between the toes, the creases at the sides of the nose, a deep cleft in the chin, etc.
  • Get medical assistance.  Advise the attending medical personnel the nature of the chemical exposure, and provide a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the involved chemicals.
  • After washing of the victim is completed, rescuers need to wash themselves to prevent injury from diluted chemical washed off from the victim.

Minor Chemical Spill

  • Alert personnel in the immediate vicinity.
  • Confine the spill, if possible to do so without endangering yourself or other personnel.
  • Restrict access to avoid people tracking the spilled material all over the place (especially mercury).
  • Call Environmental Health and Safety at 745-2395 or WKU Police at 745-2548. 
  • Do not attempt clean-up unless you are thoroughly familiar with the hazards of the spilled material, have been trained to confine and clean up spills, and have access to the appropriate personal protective equipment and spill clean-up materials.

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 Last Modified 9/27/19