Campus Security

Chemical Spill


  • Chemical spills can be classified as either minor clean-up procedure spills or major spills.

Minor clean-up procedure spills should be cleaned up immediately by trained personnel wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and using appropriate spill control media. Consult Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for information.

  • Major chemical spills, such as large quantities of concentrated acids or bases and large quantities of highly toxic substances will require evacuation of the laboratory and possibly the entire building.

All persons in the lab should exit immediately and fire alarms should be activated to initiate building evacuation. Appropriate emergency personnel should be immediately notified. Any person exposed to the hazardous chemical(s) should receive immediate medical attention.

  • Spills of bacterial cultures should be flooded with disinfectant to kill bacteria, and the disinfected spill should be cleaned up by trained personnel wearing appropriate PPE. All spill clean-up material should be autoclaved prior to disposal.


  • Small fires should be extinguished with appropriate fire extinguishing materials.
  • If the fire is large enough that laboratory personnel do not feel it can be safely extinguished, the laboratory should be evacuated immediately. Call 911 immediately. Fire alarms should be activated to initiate building evacuation.


  • Minor injuries should be treated with appropriate first-aid measures.
  • Major injuries should receive prompt medical attention.


Unnecessary exposure to chemicals should be avoided. Develop and encourage safe work habits. Appropriate engineering controls should be used and appropriate PPE should be worn by anyone working with chemicals. Minor exposures to skin should be flushed with water. For more serious exposures the following actions are recommended:

Montana Poison Control 800-222-1222

Inhalation – Remove the affected person to fresh air. If breathing becomes difficult, seek medical attention.

Eye contact – Promptly flush eyes with water for prolonged period (at least 15 minutes) and seek medical attention

Skin contact – Promptly remove any contaminated clothing and flush the affected area with water for 15 minutes. If symptoms persist after washing, seek medical attention.

Ingestion – Consult MSDS for immediate steps to follow, and promptly seek medical attention.

All serious chemical exposures should be documented with an incident report, filled out by laboratory supervisor and, if possible, the affected person. This report will be filed with the Chairperson of the safety committee and the DCC administration.