Chemical Spill Response

The range and quantity of hazardous substances used in laboratories requires prior planning to respond safely to chemical spills.  The cleanup of a chemical spill should be done by knowledgeable and experienced personnel. Spill kits with instructions, absorbents, reactants, and personal protective equipment should be available to clean up minor spills.

A minor (incidental) chemical spill is one that laboratory staff is capable of handling safely without the assistance of EHRS and emergency response personnel. Chemical spills become major when:

  • The spill causes a serious injury or exposure requiring medical treatment
  • Spill involves a fire or explosion
  • The spill results in a release to the environment (e.g. sink or floor drain) or a public space such as a hallway or classroom
  • The material or its hazard are unknown
  • Laboratory staff cannot safely mange the hazard because the material is potentially life–threatening or the quantity is too large (generally >1 gallon) 



  1. Alert people in immediate area of spill
  2. Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves, and long sleeve lab coat
  3. Avoid breathing vapors. Respiratory protection should not be required for a minor spill.
  4. Confine spill to a small area.
  5. Use appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases. Collect residue, place in container, and dispose of as chemical waste.
  6. For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand, or diatomaceous earth. Collect residue, place in container, and dispose of as chemical waste.
  7. Clean spill area with water.



Immediately Contact Temple University Campus Police at 1-1234. 

  1. Attend to injured or contaminated person and remove them from exposure.
  2. Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.
  3. If spill material is flammable, turn off ignition sources and heat sources.
  4. Close doors to affected area.
  5. Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.

Contact EHRS at 215-707-2520 after contacting Campus Police