Chemical Spills


1. Advise lab occupants of the spill and evacuate the area.

2. Notify your supervisor and/or lab coordinator of the spill. Provide details such as quantity spilled and chemical name.

Risk Assessment

3. Conduct an initial risk assessment to determine if:

  • Building evacuation is required. If yes, pull the fire alarm and contact Campus Security at 2-4500.
  • External resources are required to contain and clean-up the spill. If not, continue with step 4.


4. Ensure the spill area has adequate ventilation to clear gases or vapours generated during the neutralization process. If there is a potential for gases to concentrate in the area, or if odours are overpowering, leave, mark the door, and contact Campus Security at 2-4500.

5. Wear appropriate personal safety equipment such as safety glasses and gloves.

6. Select the appropriate neutralizer or vapour inhibitor.

  • Spill-X-A for acid spills
  • Spill-X-C for caustic spills
  • Spill-X-S for solvent spills

7. Apply the powder around the edge of the liquid.

8. Sprinkle the powder toward the centre.With a plastic dustpan and brush, push the powder toward the centre until all liquid is absorbed. If necessary, add more neutralizing powder.

9. If cleaning up a solvent, proceed to step 13.

10. For acids and caustics, using a spatula, place a small quantity of mixture into a 100 ml beaker of water.

11. Stir the mixture and test with pH paper. The pH should be between 3 and

12. Add more neutralizer until the appropriate pH is reached.


13. When neutralization is achieved, scoop the mixture with a dustpan into a disposal bag.

14. Rinse the spill area with water and wipe up.

15. If uncertain about disposal, contact your supervisor or Environmental Health and Safety.

16. Disposal will vary depending on the liquid neutralized. After neutralization, some liquids produce a mixture which can go to landfill. Other liquids retain toxic properties and must be handled as special waste. For example, chromic acid can be neutralized but not detoxified.


17. Complete an SFU incident report form, see Incident Reporting for more information.

18. If an employee visited a physician, or was absent beyond the day of the incident (due to the incident), then the supervisor completes a WCB Form 7.