Mercury Spills

Mercury Thermometers and other equipment

EHRS encourages phasing out use of mercury containing thermometers and other equipment. For example, equipment such as mercury strain gauges may be replaced by indium-gallium strain gauges and mercury thermometers may be replaced by mercury-free alternatives such as:

  • Organic-Liquid-Filled Thermometers
  • Platinum Resistance Thermometers (PRT)
  • Thermistors
  • Thermocouples

Contact Science Stores for information regarding mercury containing thermometer replacement.

Initial Response

  • Notify lab occupants of mercury spill and broken glass.
  • Evacuate lab, mercury is volatile at room temperature and releases vapour that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic.
  • If switches are accessible, shut off heating. Vapourization is increased at elevated temperatures and with large surface areas (i.e. several beads).
  • Post a "do not enter" sign on the door.
  • Assess whether people or clothing require treatment for exposure to mercury.
  • Contact EHRS at 778-782-5935 for immediate assistance.
  • Consult with supervisor and/or lab coordinator.

Clean Up

  • Do NOT attempt to clean-up a mercury spill on your own.
  • Contact EHRS at 778-782-5935 for immediate assistance.
  • EHRS is equipped with mercury spill response equipment and procedures.


Complete an SFU incident report, see Incident Reporting. If an employee visited a physician, or was absent beyond the day of the incident (due to the incident), then the supervisor completes a WorksafeBC Form 7.