Immediate Chemical Emergency Procedures

  1. Purpose and Scope

  2. Training and Basic Spill Preparation

  3. Map and Chemical Inventories

  4. NFPA "704" Signs

  5. Hazardous Waste Storage Locations

  6. Emergency Guidelines

    1. Rescue

    2. Confine, Secure and Evacuate

    3. Basic Spill Response Measures

    4. Anticipation of Known Hazardous Waste Spills

    5. Cleaning Up Small Chemical Spills

      1. Minor Chemical Spill

      2. Laboratory Drain Spill

      3. Fluorescent Light Bulb Breakage

      4. Mercury Thermometer Breakage

    6. Major Chemical Spill

    7. Cleaning up Major Spill

    8. Emergency Contact Number

    9. Amendments/Updates


  1. Purpose and Scope

    1. Definition - A chemical emergency is defined as a situation in which a chemical is not properly contained and poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of person in proximity to the chemical and the environment.

    2. This written procedure addresses regulatory requirements under 40 CFR for a large quantity waste generator of hazardous wastes. This written plan is intended to be used as a reference in the event of emergency involving a chemical spill or hazardous waste release. This procedure should be consulted, in addition to Gallaudet University Emergency Preparedness Guide. This document will be routinely updated as necessary. When using a paper copy please check with the university chemical hygiene officer to ensure you are referring to the most recent version.

  2. Training and Basic Spill Preparation

    1. All employees who are in contact with chemicals should be trained on spill procedures when they are first hired and yearly thereafter. Document the training and have employee and supervisor sign the documentation form to certify that the training was given. Keep these certification forms with your departmental employee training records.

    2. Be prepared in advance of an emergency. Know the location of fire extinguishers, eyewashes, emergency deluge showers, first aid kit, emergency phone/videophone and any other emergency equipment that is needed within your area of work. Know your evacuation route(s). If you are a faculty member or supervisors make sure your students and staff are aware of this information as soon as possible.

  3. Map and Chemical Inventories

    1. Maps indicating emergency exit routes for each building are posted within the hallways, preferably posted by the elevator or stairwell to aid in locating emergency equipment, and in leaving the building during emergency evacuations.

    2. Keep accurate and up-to-date inventories of all chemicals in your laboratory or work area and keep up to date electronically with Department of Public Safety.

    3. Keep copies of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) in your work area for chemicals being used for easy access, to consult prior to working with the chemical and in an event that an emergency should occurs.

  4. NFPA "704" Signs

    Storage areas or buildings with significant amounts of chemicals are posted or labeled with a Nation Fire Protection Association (NFPA) "704" sign to alert fire fighters and emergency response personnel to the danger within that particular room or building.

  5. Hazardous Waste Storage Locations
    Hall Memorial Building (HMB) N407

    Chemical Storage Locations
    Hall Memorial Building 3rd and 4th floors
    Central Utilities Building
    Washburn Art Center
    Elstad Theater and Gil Eastman Annex
    Department of Transportation in Appleby Building

  6. Emergency Guidelines

    Depending upon the given situation, emergencies shall be handled as follow:

    1. Rescue

      Prior to leave the site during an emergency, attend to the victims (e.g. assist chemical spill victim removing clothing, emergency shower or eyewash or fire blanket to smother fire) by either moving the victim to a safe location or outside. Make sure you are not endangering your life. DO NOT go back into an area where a chemical spill has occurred if you are not wearing proper personal protective equipment. In many cases, rescuers not wearing PPE have been overcome by the toxic or asphyxiating fumes trying to rescue other victims and succumb as a result. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE.

    2. Confine, Secure and Evacuate

      In the event of fire, hazardous material/chemical spill, or an explosion, the affected area needs to be confined in order to insure that fires do not occur, recur or spread to nearby storage, laboratory or work areas and to prevent spreading. The following steps need to be implemented if they do not endanger your life or health.

      As you leave an area which involves a chemical spill which is large or can cause severe health risk:

      • Alert nearby personnel/employees
      • Isolate and contain the spill, close all doors
      • Post a warning sign (CAUTION: Chemical Spill)
      • Turn off any gas or ignition source in case and to prevent fire or explosion
      • Activate the fire alarm at pull station
      • Evacuate personnel to nearest fire exit to proceed out of the building
      • DO NOT USE ELEVATORS
      • Follow procedure outlined in Gallaudet University Emergency Preparedness Guide

    3. Basic Spill Response Measures

      1. Always report the incident from a safe location.

      2. The DPS will respond to any emergency. Provide the following information:

        • Your name and location
        • Location of the incident: building, floor, room number
        • Time and type of incident
        • Name and quantity of chemical(s) involved
        • Type of hazard to health or the environment including (particularly: flammables, oxidizers, highly reactive and air-born toxic or irritant materials)

    4. Anticipation of Known Hazardous Waste Spills

      1. In anticipation of a potential waste to spill, each laboratory area should have the necessary equipment (spill kits and personal protective equipment) to respond to a minor spill. Significant chemical spills should only be cleaned up by knowledgeable and experienced personnel.
      2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) contain information on how the spill is to be cleaned and should be consulted in the event of any spill.
      3. If the spill is too large to handle, is a threat to laboratory personnel or the public, or involves highly toxic or reactive chemicals, from a safe location call the Department of Public Safety at x5555 (v/ vp) 5544 (tty) or dps@gallaudet.edu for immediate assistance.

    5. Cleaning Up Small Chemical Spills

      If you are cleaning up a small chemical spill, be aware of the associated hazards with the material spilled, have adequate ventilation (open windows, chemical fume hood on) and proper personal protective equipment (minimum - gloves, goggles and lab coat). Consider all residual chemical and cleanup materials (absorbent, gloves, etc.) as hazardous waste. Place materials in a sealed container, label as required and store in chemical fume hood.

      1. Minor Chemical Spill

        • Alert people in immediate area of the spill to maintain safe distance
        • Increase ventilation in area of the spill.
        • Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves and long sleeve disposable lab coat.
        • Avoid breathing vapors from the spill.
        • Use appropriate spill neutralizer kit and absorb inorganic acids and bases. Collect residue, place in appropriate container, and dispose as hazardous waste.
        • For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand or paper towels. Collect residue, place in container, and dispose as chemical waste.
        • Clean the spill area with water.

      2. Laboratory Drain Spill

        • DO NOT let any chemical spill entering any floor or sink drain. Put barriers around the floor drains to prevent
        • If an accidental release of chemical gets into a sink or floor drain, it must be considered a spill event.

      3. Fluorescent Light Bulb Breakage

        Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within its glass tubing.

        • Have all occupants leave the room being careful not to let anyone walk through the area containing the materials of the broken bulb
        • Open windows
        • Wear proper personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves.
        • Carefully gather the glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place into either a glass jar or double lined plastic bag.
        • Clean up the area with damp paper towel or disposable wet wipes. Place inside glass jar or plastic bag.
        • Wash your hands after disposing the jars or plastic bags containing the material.
        • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb.
        • Label as Hazardous Waste with necessary information as required on the label.

      4. Mercury Thermometer Breakage

        • Alert all occupants in the immediate area to evacuate and avoid anyone walking through a mercury spill in that area.
        • Only trained personnel shall clean up the mercury spill wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.
        • Open windows and doors of laboratory while performing the decontamination process.
        • Put on disposable gloves and other personal protective equipment.
        • If there are any broken pieces of glass, pick up with care and place on a paper towel. Carefully fold paper towel and place in double lined plastic bag.
        • Locate visible mercury beads. Using a mercury spill kit or a squeegee to gather mercury beads. Use slow sweeping motions to keep mercury from becoming uncontrollable. Take a flashlight, hold it at a low angle close to the floor in a darkened room and look for additional glistening beads of mercury that may be sticking to the surface or within some cracks. Note: Mercury can move surprising distances on hard-flat surfaces, so to be sure to cover the entire area of where the mercury spill occurred.
        • If no mercury kit is available then use an eye dropper to collect or draw up the mercury beads. Slowly and carefully squeeze mercury onto a damp paper towel. After completion of clean-up, carefully close up the paper towel and place into plastic bag, secure the bag and label as hazardous waste. This includes the laboratory disposable gloves.
        • Remember to keep the area well ventilated to the outside (i.e., windows) for at least 24 hours after clean-up.

    6. Major Chemical Spill

      • It is important to make quick and justifiable decisions to ensure everyone's personal safety.
      • If possible attend to the injured or contaminated person(s) and remove them from further exposure.
      • Alert people in the laboratory and surrounding laboratories to evacuate.
      • If the spill material is flammable, turn off all ignition and heat sources. Place another device such as plastic bag or plastic sheet over the spilled material to keep the substance from volatizing.
      • Close the door to the area where the major chemical spill has occurred.
      • Department of Public Safety at x5555 (v/vp) 5544 (tty) or dps@gallaudet.edu from a safe location and wait for the arrival security. Security has a list of emergency contacts that they will attempt to contact, in order when they are informed of a chemical emergency.
      • Provide information to the security of the hazard(s) involved (e.g., fumes, flames, or irritating odor, and which chemical).
      • Secure the location by informing all non-emergency personnel that they are to keep away from the area. If someone should violate directives, you should NOT take it upon yourself to use force to prevent the person from entering the area. The individual shall be reported.
      • DO NOT TRY TO CLEAN UP AN UNKNOWN CHEMICAL SPILL OR A MAJOR CHEMICAL SPILL.
      • One or more of the following conditions requires Security to notify 911 immediately:
        • Fire or Explosion
        • Rupture of storage fuel tanks;
        • Damaged and/or leaking compressed gas cylinder ; and
        • Chemical release resulting in personal injury that requires medical service at a hospital.

          Arriving Emergency Responders shall be provided with the chemical name and/or trade name of chemical(s) AND preferably, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

    7. Cleaning Up Major Spills

      Once the chemical release has been confined, restrict site access to the area or university authorized trained individuals or subcontracted environmental consultants. Only authorized personnel may be involved with the containment, cleanup, removal and/or disposal of the released material. This requirement mandates a secure perimeter must be established at all times during the response activities.

      Gallaudet University will enlist services of an outside consultant to engage in cleanup activities of any major chemical spill. The Hazardous Materials Response Team will be utilized, in the event that an outside consultant is not immediately available for consultation and emergency services.

    8. Emergency Contact Number

      Department of Public Safety x5555 (V/VP) 5544 (TTY)
      dps@gallaudet.edu
      DPS will contact external emergency agencies

    9. Chemical Emergency Spill Plan Amendments

      This plan must be reviewed, and immediately amended, if necessary, whenever:

      1. Applicable regulations are revised
      2. The plans fails in an emergency
      3. The facility changes - in its design, construction, operation, maintenance, or other circumstances - in a way that materially increases the potential for fires, explosions , or releases of hazardous waste constituents, or change the response waste or hazardous waste constituents, or changes in the response necessary in an emergency
      4. The list of emergency coordinators changes; or
      5. The emergency equipment list changes.

References:

University of Tampa
http://utweb.ut.edu/chemicalsafety/files/Download/Chemical%20Emergency%20Spill%20Plan%20v1.3.pdf

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