Spill Response Protocol for YUAL

Note: Chemicals are only allowed in the following buildings: 10 Sachem Street, Room 22 (Fume Hood Lab) & Room 23 (Dirty Lab – limited); and 51 Hillhouse Ave, rooms TBA.

Emergency Contacts

Yukiko Tonoike
Laboratory Assistant
Phone: 203-432-6418
Fax: 203-432-3669
Emergency Phone: 203-500-9685
E-Mail: yukiko.tonoike@yale.edu

Office of Environmental Health and Safety
Business Hours Phone: 785-3555
Off-Hours Phone: 432-4400


This document provides information on several techniques that should be utilized for small quantity (less than 1 liter) chemical spills of low to moderately hazardous chemicals in the Yale University Archaeology Laboratories (Note: Not all YUAL laboratories are approved for chemical use). Any large scale spills or spills of highly hazardous chemicals should be controlled if possible, and then immediately contact OEHS and the laboratory assistant for the cleanup.

Response to spills in the laboratory can be broken down into three phases: containment, control, and clean up.

Containment: Containment is prevention of the spread of hazardous materials from the site of the spill. This is usually accomplished by using a physical barrier to contain the material to the spill area. If the spill cannot be approached and the material is spreading, the barrier can be established downgrade from the spill. Barriers should also be established around floor drains and sink drains to prevent hazardous material from entering them.

Control: This involves the stopping of an ongoing spill or leak. If an container is leaking and must be controlled by overpacking in larger containers, it is critical to select an overpack container that is compatible with the leaking material and it should be filled with a compatible absorbent material. If you must transfer a liquid into another container, be aware that a static electricity charge can build up from the movement of the liquid against the sides of the container. This charge can act as an ignition source in the case of flammable liquids. Therefore, containers should be grounded whenever a substance is being transferred to safely discharge the static electricity and to reduce the risk of fire or explosion.

Clean Up: The clean up of a chemical spill requires specialized equipment and trained personnel. Laboratory workers can perform several measures which do not involve contact with the spilled material. However, OEHS should be contacted for complete clean up, except spills of low to moderate hazardous chemicals in small quantities less than 1 liter.

Chemical Safety

(See YUAL Chemical Safety Information for more details)

Each laboratory cleared for use of chemicals has the following emergency items: first aid kit, spill response kit, a copy of this spill protocol, and relevant Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Note the location of these items before starting any work. In case of major emergencies, the MSDS should be taken during evacuation, if possible.

In addition, a safety shower and eye wash station is available in 10 Sachem Street, Room 22. If using Room 23 for chemical work, the door to both Room 22 and 23 must be kept open to allow access to the safety shower and eye wash station.

More details on 51 Hillhouse laboratories will be added as the information becomes available.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are available in the laboratory assistant's office and in each room that the chemical is cleared to be used in. These sheets provide information regarding the physical and chemical properties of the product, and aid in understanding the potential health and physical hazards of a chemical and describes how to repond effectively to emergency situations. However, it should be noted that MSDS tends to address the worst case scenario such as in the case of a major industrial accident, rather than a laboratory situation. Therefore, if there are any questions contact the laboratory assistant or the OEHS safety advisor (10 Sachem St. - Joann Farrell; 51 Hillhouse Ave. - George Andrews).

Chemical Emergency Response Information (Copied from OEHS website)

Minor Chemical Spill

If you have a minor chemical spill, you should:

Major Chemical Spill or Spill of an Extremely Hazardous Substance

Some spills are large (> 1 liter) or involve very hazardous or unknown substances. You should not clean them up by yourself! Example of very hazardous substances include: bromine, hydrazine, cyanides, Class 1 A flammable solvents, alkali metals and white phosphorus. If you have a major spill you should:

Chemical Exposures to the Body

It should be noted that some chemicals (phenol, aniline,) are rapidly adsorbed through skin. If a large enough area of skin is contaminated an adverse health effect (systematic toxicological reaction) may occur immediately to several hours after initial exposure depending on the chemical. If more than 9 square inches of the skin area has been exposed to a hazardous chemical, seek medical attention after washing the material off the skin. If the incident involves hydrofluoric acid (HF), seek immediate medical attention. Provide the physician with the chemical name.

Chemical Splash in Eye

Ingestion of Hazardous Chemicals

Inhalation of Smoke, Vapors and Fumes

Burning Chemicals on Clothing

Hydrofluoric Acid

Skin Exposure to HF:

  1. Immediately flood the affected body area with cool water for a minimum of 5 minutes, if calcium gluconate is available. If no calcium gluconate is immediately available, continue rinsing the affected area until emergency medical responders arrive, using copious amounts of water. Remove contaminated clothing and footwear while rinsing.
  2. Call or have a co-worker call for medical assistance (911 from any Yale phone). Be sure to indicate that you were exposed to hydrofluoric acid.
  3. Gently rub calcium gluconate ointment onto the affected area. Continue applying until emergency medical responders arrive.
  4. Inform responders and all others that the exposure involved hydrogen fluoride/hydrofluoric acid.

Eye or Inhalation Exposures to HF:

  1. Flush eyes with plenty of cool tap water for 15 minutes.
  2. Move inhalation exposure victim to clean air.
  3. Call or have a co-worker call for medical assistance (911 from any Yale phone).
  4. Await emergency medical responders, informing them and all others that the exposure involved hydrogen fluoride/hydrofluoric acid.

Hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid cause severe, deeply penetrating burns to the skin, eyes and lungs. Although concentrated forms of these compounds are readily perceived by a burning sensation, more dilute forms are often imperceptible for many hours. This potential time delay between exposure recognition and treatment can lead to insidious and difficult to treat burns.

If you work with hydrogen fluoride or hydrofluoric acid, make certain you and your co-workers familiarize yourselves with these first aid procedures, and keep an updated supply of 2.5% calcium gluconate ointment in the work area. This ointment is available free-of-charge from the OEHS.