Emergency Response Procedures for Hazardous Substance Spills

Lowell, Massachusetts
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance

The following describes appropriate actions to be taken by University staff, faculty and students when spills of hazardous substances occur.

In general, hazardous spills regardless of size, will be abated/corrected only by personnel specifically trained in spill clean-up operations or by the University Spill Team. Only those individuals who are properly equipped and fully aware of the hazards in handling the specific substance(s) spilled, the associated health and environmental effects and compatibility(ies) of the substance(s) should endeavor to correct spill situations.

Response Procedures:

"Small Spills" (Defined as one liter or less)
  1. Ventilate with outside air (if possible) and close hallway doors.
  2. Secure area (lock doors).
  3. Call University Police at extension 2911 and provide the following information:
    • Your name.
    • Building name and room number of spill.
    • Name of substance spilled.
    • Approximate amount spilled.
    • Injuries, names of persons affected.
    • State if you will be cleaning up the (small) spill or whether the University Spill Team should be notified.
  4. Meet with the University Police official at an agreed upon location. Identify yourself.

"Large Spills" (Defined as greater than one liter) or when a spill involves a substance which is considered immediately dangerous to life, health or safety.

  1. If conditions allow, secure room, i.e., close doors which separate the room from the rest of the building and/or evacuate immediately.
  2. Call the University Police Department at x2911 from a "safe" and provide the following information:
    • Your name.
    • Building name and room number affected by spill.
    • Section of the room affected by the spill.
    • Person(s) injured. Type of injury sustained.
    • Name of substance spilled/released.
    • Approximate amount of substance spilled/released.
    • Name of person who may be knowledgeable concerning the room's contents or the substance released.
      NOTE: The University Police will contact the University Spill Team.
  3. Meet with the Emergency Response Personnel and the University Police Department at the front entrance to the building. Identify yourself.

NOTE: Only trained persons familiar with the substance spilled and who have proper personal protective equipment should consider cleaning up a spill.

Personal protective wear (such as, but not limited to: goggles, Tyvek suits, respirators, gloves) shall be worn. Material Safety Data Sheets are either available in each laboratory or from the University Environmental and Emergency Management x2543, or from the University Police, x2911. These data sheets shall be used as the source of information for evaluating the spilled substance.

For additional information or training concerning this procedure, please contact the University Environmental and Emergency Management Office at x2618.