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Spill Response

Hazardous Materials

View policy pdf: Spill Response Policy

Policy Statement

There is no formal policy statement for this topic however general procedures and additional support information is provided below.

Reason for Policy

The following policy is intended to instruct laboratory personnel on the appropriate steps to take in the event of a chemical spill. No policy of this nature can cover all potential events, and the procedures below are intended as general guidelines. For releases that involve radioactive materials, please consult section 3.13 (Radiation Safety - spill response).


When injuries and/or chemical exposure has occurred

  • Attend to injuries and perform decontamination, preferably in an area away from the location of the
  • As soon as possible, call the UGA Police department at either 911 or (706) 542-2200 and report the injury,

For all spills

  • Alert others in the area that a spill has occurred,
  • Isolate the spill and make sure that no one enters the area,
  • For spills involving flammable liquids, if you can do so safely, turn off ignition sources including Bunsen burners and electric motors,
  • For spills that produce toxic vapors, evacuate the area where the vapors are present,
  • In order to help contain chemical vapors, close doors in the area of the spill,
  • Consult Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for information on the hazards associated with the material,
  • Dispose of all contaminated and spill cleanup materials according to UGA guidelines,
  • For further disposal information consult the Hazardous Materials Management website at:

Minor spills

  • Do not attempt to clean up spills that are beyond the capability of laboratory personnel to handle safely,
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment including respiratory protection as
  • Work in Do not work alone.

Major Spills

  1. If assistance is needed with a spill cleanup, contact the UGA Police department at either 911 or (706) 542-2200,
  2. Report the following information to the UGA PD;
  3. Whether or not anyone is in need of medical attention,
    1. The type and amount of the chemical that was spilled,
    2. The building and room number where the spill occurred,
    3. Your name and cell phone number,
  4. Remain on scene in a safe location and identify yourself to emergency response personnel when they

Policy Definitions

Minor spill – The release of a material that is within the capabilities of laboratory personnel to clean up safely without additional assistance.

Major spill - The release of a material that is beyond the capability of laboratory personnel to clean up safely without outside assistance.


Responsible University Senior Administrator: Vice President for Finance & Administration

Responsible University Administrator: Associate vice president for the Environmental Safety Division (ESD)

Policy Owner:

Policy Contact:

Phone Number:

Responsibilities:  It is the responsibility of all personnel who work with hazardous materials to be familiar with the potential hazards of each material with which they may come in contact.  Before work is performed involving hazardous materials, it is the responsibility of the employee to acquire a minimum of Right-To-Know (RTK) training.  Additionally chemical specific training may be needed over and above RTK.

Date Issued: 06/13/2016

Last Reviewed/Updated: