Spill Response

A hazardous material spill is an uncontrolled release of a substance that may endanger humans, animals, or the environment. University staff and students who work with hazardous materials should be prepared to respond if a spill occurs. In all cases, the principal investigator/instructor should promptly report the spill to EHS staff and ehs@sjsu.edu. 

Spill Response

Do not attempt to clean up a spill unless you have been trained to do so. Remember to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) before cleaning up a spill. For small biohazardous spills, follow the instructions on the Biohazard Small Spill Response [pdf] guide, and for spills that require safety staff, follow the instructions in the “Hazardous Materials Spills or Leaks” section of the Emergency Assistance [pdf] guide.

Prepare for and Prevent Spills

University staff that use, store, handle and/or transport hazardous materials should prevent and be prepared to respond to a spill by doing the following:

  • Get or make a spill kit (links incoming).
  • Place the Biohazard Small Spill Response [pdf] and Emergency Assistance [pdf] guides in a visible location.
  • Follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all hazardous materials that include instructions for safe handling, use, storage, transport, disposal and spill response.
  • Ensure that safety data sheets (SDSs) for the hazardous materials that are being used or stored are available to all individuals in that area.
  • Safely dispose of chemicals, biohazardous waste, radioactive waste and other hazardous materials and equipment.  Never put these wastes down the drain or in the normal trash.  Contact EHS to coordinate disposal.

Additional Spill Response Guidance

ACID: Acidic Chemical Spill Response Guide [pdf]

BASE: Caustic Chemical Spill Response Guide [pdf]

LIGHT BULBS: Mercury Containing Light Bulb Spill Response Guide

MERCURY: Mercury Spill Response Guide [pdf]

OIL: Oil Spill Response Guide [pdf]

HF: Hydroflouric Acid Spill Response Guide [pdf]