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Definitions: Manageable spills are spills that do not spread rapidly, do not seriously endanger people or the pictures/environment, and can be managed safely by lab personnel familiar with the hazardous properties that the chemical may have and without the assistance of EH&S personnel. All other spills are considered unmanageable spills.

Responsible Department: Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)

For MS: Telephone: (212)854-8749 (9am-5pm weekdays) or (212)854-5555 (all other times) Hours: 24 hours/7 days

For CUMC:Telephone: (212)305-6780 (9am-5pm weekdays) or (212)305-7979 (all other times) Hours: 24 hours/7 days

Manageable Chemical Spill Procedure:

  • Alert people in the immediate area. Avoid breathing vapors and quickly determine what chemical and the quantity of material have been spilled. Notify the laboratory supervisor and/or principal investigator.

  • Consult safety data sheet (SDS) for hazardous properties, incompatibilities, and don appropriate protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, long sleeve lab coat)

  • If the spill involves a flammable liquid, turn off all ignition and heat sources.

  • Attend to any persons contaminated by chemicals by removing contaminated clothing, and when feasible, flush the affected body area with water. An incident form should be completed and the employee referred to:
    • MS: the Saint Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room (1111 Amsterdam Avenue at 114th Street). Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located 519 W 114th St.
    • CUMC: CPC Occupational Health Services (OHS) located on Harkness Pavilion one South (212)305-7580 between 8am-4pm and the NYPH Emergency Room at all other times. Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located on 60 Haven Avenue (212)305-3400.
  • Confine spill to small area. Absorb and neutralize spill with appropriate material and create a dam around the perimeter. Use appropriate spill kit or sodium bicarbonate for acids; citric acids for caustics; and vermiculite, dry sand, or diatomaceous earth for other chemicals. Collect residue, place in a container, and dispose as chemical waste through EH&S.
  • Clean spill area with soap and water.

Unmanageable Chemical Spill Procedure:

  • Alert people in the immediate area. Avoid breathing vapors and quickly determine what chemical and the quantity of material, if it can be done safely, has been spilled. Notify the laboratory supervisor and/or principal investigator.
  • Consult SDS for hazardous properties, incompatibilities, and don appropriate protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, long sleeve lab coat)
  • If the spill involves a flammable liquid, turn off all ignition and heat sources.
  • Evacuate all personnel and close all doors leading to affected area. Keep all personnel away from affected area until EH&S can evaluate the situation. · Attend to any persons contaminated by chemicals by removing contaminated clothing, and when feasible, flush the affected body area with water. An incident form should be completed and the employee referred to
    • MS: the Saint Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room (1111 Amsterdam Avenue at 114th Street). Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located 519 W 114th St.
    • CUMC: CPC Occupational Health Services (OHS) located on Harkness Pavilion one South (212)305-7580 between 8am-4pm and the NYPH Emergency Room at all other times. Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located on 60 Haven Avenue (212)305-3400.

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Call EH&S (212)854-8749 at MS or (212)305-6780 at CUMC for instructions between 9am-5pm weekdays and Security (212)854-5555 at MS or (212)305-7979 at CUMC at all other times. Be prepared to give the chemical name, volume spilled, location (building and room), and any other pertinent information. Have a person knowledgeable of the incident and laboratory available to provide information to emergency personnel.

In the event that Custodial, Maintenance, or Security personnel discover a spill when no laboratory personnel are present, notify their supervisor immediately and follow the above procedures for handling unmanageable spills.

Chemical Explosions in Laboratories:

  • If the explosion causes a fire or structural instability, transmit building fire alarm immediately.

  • Alert and evacuate all personnel in the immediate area.

  • Close all doors leading to the affected area and secure area until safety personnel arrive to evaluate the situation. Try to determine which material has exploded.

  • Call EH&S (212)854-8749 at MS or (212)305-6780 at CUMC for instructions between 9am-5pm weekdays and Security (212)854-5555 at MS or (212)305-7979 at CUMC at all other times. Be prepared to give the chemical name, location (building and room), and any other pertinent information.

  • Consult SDS for hazardous properties, incompatibilities and don appropriate protective equipment (safety glasses, gloves, long sleeve lab coat).

  • If the spill involves a flammable liquid, turn off all ignition and heat sources.

  • Attend to any persons contaminated by chemicals by removing contaminated clothing, and when feasible, flush the affected body area with water. An incident form should be completed and the employee referred to:
    • MS: the Saint Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room (1111 Amsterdam Avenue at 114th Street). Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located 519 W 114th St.
    • CUMC: CPC Occupational Health Services (OHS) located on Harkness Pavilion one South (212)305-7580 between 8am-4pm and the NYPH Emergency Room at all other times. Affected students are to report to Student Health Services located on 60 Haven Avenue (212)305-3400.
  • Have a person knowledgeable of the incident and laboratory available to provide information to emergency personnel.