Hazardous Materials Spill

ERG_LabAccident_Revised

A hazardous material is any substance or agent (biological, chemical, radiological, and/or physical), which is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to humans, the environment and property.

In ALL hazardous material emergency situations, the primary concern is the protection of personnel. The secondary concern is to confine the contamination, but ONLY if you are specifically trained under 29 CFR 1910.120 to do so.

The release or spill of hazardous materials will require a different response based on a variety of factors, including the amount, type and location of the spill. Each location should have its own specific cleanup procedure and all personnel handling such material, should have received instruction on that procedure.

Emergency Response Procedures: Chemical, Biohazardous and Radioactive Spills

In case of emergency such as injury or illness, major spill or theft of hazardous material, immediately contact University Police at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone).

Injury or Illness

In addition to contacting University Police for an injury or illness needing medical attention, personnel must notify their immediate supervisor of an injury or illness resulting from exposure to hazardous materials. In addition, supervisors and personnel that they oversee, are responsible for completing the Tufts Accident/Incident Report Form at publicsafety.tufts.edu/accident.

Chemical Exposure to Skin:

  • Immediately flush with cool water for at least 15 minutes.
  • If there are no visible burns, remove all jewelry and soap area.
  • Seek medical attention if a reaction occurs or if there are concerns.

Chemical Exposure to Skin – Serious:

  • Remove all contaminated clothing.
  • Immediately soak with cool water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Have someone contact the University Police at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone).
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Chemicals in Eyes:

  • Irrigate eyes for at least 15 minutes with tempered water from emergency eyewash station.
  • Remove contact lenses if possible.
  • Notify the University Police at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone).
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Smoke and other Airborne Contaminants:

  • Anyone overcome by smoke or other airborne contaminants should be relocated to an area where there is fresh air.
  • Never attempt to enter a location where potentially dangerous air contaminants might place you at risk. If someone is down, contact emergency personnel.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Clothing or Laboratory Coat on Fire (Stop, Drop and Roll):

  • Extinguish burning clothing by using the drop and roll technique, dousing with cold water using an emergency shower or smothering with a fire blanket. Note: If using a fire blanket, do not allow the person to remain standing.
  • If possible, remove contaminated clothing and cover injured person to prevent shock.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.

Chemical Spills (liquid, gas, solid)

There is a wide range of chemicals in the workplace. The safe clean up of a chemical spill requires knowledge of the properties and hazards posed by the chemical, and any added dangers posed by the location of the spill. If you believe a spill is beyond your capacity to clean up, do not attempt to do so on your own, STOP and contact the University Police. Spill kits with instructions, absorbents, neutralizing agents if applicable, protective equipment, and sealable waste buckets should be present in the workplace. Refer to the chemical Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for specific guidance on the chemical hazards and spill clean up.

Minor Spill:

A minor spill is characterized by all of the following criteria:

  • Is inside a laboratory and hasn’t spread outside the laboratory;
  • Did not result in a fire or explosion, nor presents a risk for a fire or explosion; and
  • Did not result in personnel requiring medical attention.

Minor Spill Clean Up:

  • Alert people in the immediate area of the spill.
  • Put on appropriate Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE), (gloves, protective eyewear, lab coat).
  • Contain the spill with absorbent spill material.
  • Completely clean the area where the spill occurred.
  • Place the absorbed spill material in secondary containment, such as the spill bucket. Label the container and notify Tufts Environmental Health & Safety to request a pick up.
  • Dispose of contaminated PPE properly.
  • Complete the Tufts Accident/Incident Report Form.

Major Spill:

A major spill is characterized by all of the following criteria:

  • Results in a fire or explosion, or presents a risk for a fire or explosion;
  • Results in personnel requiring medical attention;
  • Is not contained within a laboratory;
  • or Is characterized as a major spill by the Emergency Coordinator.

For a Major Spill or Leak:

  • Alert people in the immediate area of the spill.
  • Remove any injured or contaminated persons if you can do so safely.
  • Contact the University Police at x66911 and stand by in a safe location.
  • Remove all contaminated clothing, shoes etc. and/or use an emergency shower if one is nearby.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have been exposed.
  • Do not attempt to clean up a major spill. Leave it to the experts!
  • Complete the Tufts Accident/Incident Report Form

Mercury spill:

  • Alert people in the immediate area of the spill.
  • Put on appropriate Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE), (gloves, protective eyewear, lab coat).
  • Use a pipette or medicine dropper to pick up mercury droplets.
  • Do not use a commercial or domestic vacuum cleaner as this will contaminate the vacuum and spread mercury vapor.
  • Cover the area of the spill with sodium polysulfide solution powdered sulfur or silver metal compounds.
  • Place the spill material in secondary containment, such as the spill bucket.
  • Label the container and notify Tufts Environmental Health & Safety to request a pick-up.
  • Dispose of contaminated PPE properly.
  • Complete the Tufts Accident/Incident Report Form.

Biological Spills

The release or spill of biohazardous material will require a different response based on several factors, including the actual agent and the associated risks, the amount of material spilled, type of spill and the location of the spill. The following guidelines are to provide a quick reference to employees involved in a response to a biohazardous spill. Each lab working with biohazardous material should have their own specific spill response procedure. Where applicable, consult with your supervisor to be sure you have received the specialized training for your area.

Spill Inside the Biosafety Cabinet

A spill or release inside a biosafety cabinet (BSC) does not pose a risk to others in the lab or to the environment. The BSC functions to contain the spill and protect people in the lab from exposure to the agent. The primary concern with a release or spill inside a BSC is to decontaminate material inside the BSC, including the person’s hands and arms, any equipment located in the BSC and the surface of the BSC itself.

  • Leave the BSC turned on.
  • Person working in the BSC at the time of the spill should remove contaminated gloves, lab coat and sleeve covers if in use and dispose of them in the biohazardous waste container.
  • New Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including a lab coat, gloves and sleeve covers, if needed, should be donned prior to placing arms and hands inside the cabinet.
  • Spray/wipe cabinet walls, work surfaces and equipment located in the BSC with an approved disinfectant. Large volumes of liquid should be covered with absorbent material then disinfectant should be poured over the spill, being careful to not create splashes. Allow the disinfectant to stand for 20-30 minutes (or longer if indicated based on the agent in use).
  • Soak up disinfectant/spill with paper towels or other absorbent material and dispose of in the biohazardous waste container.
  • All disposable material should be removed from the cabinet and placed into the biohazardous waste container.
  • Reusable material should be wiped down and either autoclaved or thoroughly chemically disinfected prior to reuse.
  • If material is spilled into a drain pan, be sure that disinfectant is poured into the pan and allowed to sit for a 20-30 minute contact time. This liquid should then be poured into a container and placed into the Satellite Accumulation Area in the lab for pick up and disposal as hazardous chemical waste.
  • Clean up person should remove PPE and dispose of into the biohazardous waste container.
  • Hands should be thoroughly washed and if clothes were contaminated, they should be changed prior to returning to regular work activities.
  • Notify the Biosafety Office at x63569 and the University Police at x66911 if the spilled material flowed into the interior of the BSC. Extensive hood decontamination may be necessary and the BSC should not be used until clean up is completed.

Document spill and response procedures.

  • If exposure occurred, please refer to the appropriate Exposure Response Plan for the biological agent. The plans can be accessed online at viceprovost.tufts.edu/ibc/exposure-response-plans/. If a plan does not exist for your biological agent, additional information can be found in the Biological Materials Registration Form, which provides agent-specific information and should be available to all lab personnel. All exposures should be reported to the supervisor and to the Biosafety Office at x63569. If the exposure is associated with a medical emergency, the University Police should also be notified at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone).

Small Spill of BLS1 or BSL2 Material Outside of a BSC

  • Notify everyone in the lab that a biohazardous material spill has occurred and ask for assistance with the clean up.
  • If you are contaminated or potentially contaminated, do not leave the area. Ask a colleague to get PPE and the spill response kit for you. If you are not contaminated, obtain this material yourself and return to the spill area.
  • Put on PPE, including gloves, lab coat, disposable booties, and facial protection.
  • Cover spill with paper towels or other absorbent material.
  • Carefully pour disinfectant onto the spilled material and do not create any splashes.
  • Allow 20-30 minutes of contact time.
  • Discard cleanup material into a biohazardous waste container.
  • Use mechanical means to pick up broken glass.
  • Re-wipe area of spill with disinfectant and dispose of material into biohazardous waste container.
  • Remove PPE and dispose of into biohazardous waste container.
  • Hands should be thoroughly washed and if clothes were contaminated, they should be changed prior to returning to regular work activities.
  • Document spill and response procedures as outlined above.
  • If exposure occurred, report to the supervisor and to the Biosafety Office at x63569.

Large Spill of BSL1 and BSL2 Material Outside a BSC (>500 ml)

  • Follow same procedures as above for small spills of BSL1 and BSL2 material not in a BSC.

Human or Animal Blood

  • Follow same procedures as above for small spills of BSL1 and BSL2 material not in a BSC.

All Other Biohazardous Material

If agent involved in the spill is infectious via mucous membrane exposure or inhalation and the spill has resulted in the creation of aerosols, the lab should be evacuated for 30 minutes to allow the aerosols to settle.

  • Follow same procedures as above for small spills of BSL1 and BSL2 material not in a BSC.
  • All non-essential people in the lab should be told to leave immediately.

Radioactive Material Spills

The quantity of radioactive materials used in research at Tufts University are small, and the type of radiation produced from such materials is incapable of traveling far distances and posing significant external radiation dose concerns. Additional radiation protection precaution is exercised when accessing areas (i.e., Nuclear Medicine / Radiology) handling large quantities of x-ray / gamma emitting sources at the Grafton Veterinary Medicine Facility.

Radiological contamination control and assessment should be considered during any emergency response involving radioactive materials. The purpose is to prevent further spread of contamination, allow for prompt decontamination of surfaces and personnel, accurately communicate contamination to offsite services (i.e., ambulatory services, hospital Radiation Safety Officer), and to assess radiation dose to radiologically contaminated personnel.

Medical assistance should not be withheld or delayed in situations involving radiological contaminated personnel.

Minor Spills of Liquids and Solids

(Less than 1mCi in controlled areas not involving personnel contamination):

  • Notify persons in the area that a spill has occurred.
  • Prevent the spread of contamination by covering the spill with absorbent paper.
  • Clean up the spill using disposable gloves and absorbent paper. Carefully fold the absorbent paper with the clean side out and place in a plastic bag or transfer to a radioactive waste container.
  • Put contaminated gloves and any other contaminated disposable material in the bag.
  • Survey the area with a contamination survey meter set on the lowest range. Check the area around the spill for removable contamination. Also check your hands, clothing and shoes for contamination. For tritium contamination, follow up wipe tests are needed for further evaluation using a liquid scintillation counter.
  • Report the incident to the Tufts University’s Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) at x63450, cell 617.308.3781.

Major Spills of Liquids and Solids (Powders)

(Greater than 1mCi, all spills in uncontrolled areas and spills involving personnel contamination):

  • Clear the area. Notify all persons not involved in the spill to vacate the room.
  • Send an alert for additional resources: Notify the University Police at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone) and request notification of the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO).
  • Prevent the spread of contamination by covering the spill with absorbent paper (i.e., do not attempt to clean it up), securing the area and posting to restrict access.
  • Relocate all personnel who may be contaminated to an area outside of the spill area for further evaluation by the RSO.
  • Close the room and lock or otherwise to secure the laboratory and prevent entry.
  • Assist in decontaminating personnel by removing contaminated clothing as needed. Flush contaminated skin with lukewarm water and wash with mild soap. The RSO is available to supervise the decontamination and spill cleanup.

Fuel and Oil Spills

In the event of a fuel (gasoline or diesel) or oil (heating, hydraulic, transformer or grease/cooking oil) spill, the Tufts Spill Prevention and Countermeasure Control Plan identifies an Oil SPCC Coordinator. The Oil SPCC Coordinator may be reached through the University Police at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone). The Oil SPCC Coordinator maintains spill kits to control the spread of these liquids. Spills are categorized as either Minor or Major spills. Any spill that can be controlled with a spill kit is minor. If the spill can’t be controlled with a spill kit, it is considered to be major and will require an immediate response by an Oil/ Fuel Spill Clean Up firm. Regardless of whether a spill is minor or major, the Oil SPCC Coordinator must be notified of all fuel and oil spills as soon as possible. Depending on the quantity of fuel or oil spilled, and where the spill occurred, regulatory reporting requirements dictate that the incident be reported in as little as two-hours.