Everyone knows that accidents happen. We’ve all had those minor moments when we spill some coffee on the floor. Some of us have also been victims of major accidents such as automobile accidents. Accidents are also a fact of life in a lab environment as well – we can minimize the risks as much as we can and have the most complete handling training imaginable, and yet no lab setting will ever be 100% accident-proof. Learning how to properly handle chemical spills in your lab is essential to the safety of your employees and the good reputation of your organization. Need help developing a safety plan or just need a quick refresher? Here’s how to properly handle chemical spills.
Plan and Prepare for Chemical Spill Response
Make sure that an emergency guide is posted near phones and that your personnel read and understand the procedures for a chemical spill response. Assemble a spill kit which can be used to clean up small spills of chemicals most often used in your lab and ensure that it is always stocked and easy to reach. Finally, your personnel should all know where fire extinguishers, manual pull stations, emergency showers, eyewashes, and emergency telephones are located.
Cleaning Up Small Spills
There will be two types of spills that you will encounter in a lab setting – the large, very dangerous ones and the small, incidental ones. Small spills are able to be cleaned up by your lab personnel without much risk to either themselves or others. Alert others in the area of the spill. If chemicals have made contact with skin or body, ensure that the areas affected are flushed with water immediately for at least 15 minutes. Use any PPE necessary during cleanup to ensure a proper barrier between yourself and the chemical. Confine the spill to a small area, clean up with items from your spill kit, and rinse the area with water.
For Large, Life-Threatening Spills
Basic steps ought to be taken if a large spill occurs. Avoid breathing the fumes and quickly identify the material if you can do it safely. Turn off all ignition sources if possible if the spill involves something flammable. Use the same cleaning procedures for chemical exposure to skin or other bodily organs. Keep everyone away from the area and call your emergency response team right away!
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No matter what kind of environmental issue you may have, AEG Environmental can help. We handle every situation with care, dedication, and a commitment to exemplary customer service. When you have an emergency, you can rely on us! Need training? We can handle that too! We train in a wide variety of environmental management areas so that your company can remain compliant with EPA, DOT, and OSHA. Make sure to check out our blog for the latest and greatest in the waste management world! You should also follow us on social media for updates.
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