Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Chemical Spill Clean-Up and Reporting

Chemical Spill Clean-Up By Employees

Employees can clean-up minor chemical spills ONLY when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The chemical is known and the spill can be cleaned-up in ten minutes or less.
  • Employees are trained to safely clean-up chemical spills.
  • Employees can wear the same personal protective equipment that they wear during normal work activities.
  • Appropriate clean-up supplies are readily accessible.
  • The chemical does not have a Ceiling Limit listed in WAC 296-841 or can create an Immediate Danger to Life and Health (IDLH) atmosphere.  IDLH information can be found in the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.
  • Clean-up materials are disposed of per SPPM 5.66.

When to Call 911

If any of the above conditions cannot be met, then immediately evacuate all personnel from the area and call 911. Qualified emergency response personnel will respond to clean-up the spill.

Recommended Spill Clean-Up Kit

Each laboratory should assemble a chemical spill clean-up kit consisting of:

  • Personal protective equipment normally worn during routine work (e.g., gloves, safety goggles, lab coat)
  • Absorbent pads
  • One-gallon Ziploc bags
  • Dust pan and brush
  • Duct tape
  • Five-gallon bucket with lid

The five-gallon bucket can be used to store spill clean-up materials and then can used to store contaminated items, such as gloves and absorbent pads, used during the clean-up.  Once the spill is cleaned up the bucket is to be closed and labeled as Dangerous Waste.  Submit an on-line Chemical Collection Request form and EH&S will pick-up the container.

Mercury Spills

Employees cannot clean-up mercury spills. EH&S responds to all mercury releases; call 335-3041 during business hours and 335-9000 after business hours.