Laboratory Safety Manual - 2011
II. Emergency Procedures
All accidents, hazardous materials spills or other dangerous incidents must be reported to EHS. A list of telephone numbers must be posted on lab signs near laboratory entrances.
Telephone numbers should include:
- The Principal Investigator (or Laboratory Supervisor)
- UT Police Department (UTPD)/Austin Fire Department/Emergency Medical Services: 911
- Environmental Health and Safety (EHS): (512) 471-3511
- Occupational Health Services – Health Point (OHP): (512) 471-4647
- Building Manager
- Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
Primary Emergency Procedures for Fires, Spills and Accidents
- In the event of a fire, pull the nearest fire alarm. If you are unable to control or extinguish a fire, follow the building evacuation procedures.
- Attend to any person(s) who may have been exposed and/or injured if it is safe to reach them. Use safety showers and eyewashes as appropriate. In the case of eye contact, promptly flush eyes with water for a minimum of 15 minutes and seek medical attention immediately.
- In cases of ingestion, contact the Poison Control Center
- In cases of skin contact, promptly flush the affected area with water and remove any contaminated clothing or jewelry. If symptoms persist after washing, seek medical attention.
- Notify persons in the immediate area about the spill, evacuating all personnel from the spill area and adjoining areas that may be impacted by vapors or a potential fire.
- If the spilled material is flammable, turn off all potential ignition sources. Avoid breathing vapors of the spilled materials. Be aware that some materials either have no odors or induce olfactory fatigue (i.e. the odor is detectable only briefly).
- Leave on or establish exhaust ventilation if it is safe to do so. Close doors to slow down the spread of odors.
- Notify EHS. Essential personnel familiar with the incident need to stay in communication with EHS.
If there is an immediate threat to life or health:
- Call UTPD for assistance.
- Give the nature and the extent of the emergency; be as specific and detailed as possible.
If the spill is minor:
- If you have been trained to respond, use a spill control kit to control material spilled. If you have not been trained, notify your supervisor.
- Determine the cleaning method by referring to the MSDS.
- If the spill is minor and of known limited danger, clean up immediately.
- Wear personal protective equipment during cleanup. The protective equipment required will depend upon the material spilled, the amount, and the airborne concentration. At a minimum a lab coat, chemical resistant gloves and goggles should be worn.
- Cover liquid spills with compatible absorbent material such as spill pillows.
- Powdered materials should be covered with wet paper towels (if compatible) to avoid dispersal. Corrosives should be neutralized prior to absorption. Clean spills from the outer areas first, cleaning towards the center.
- Place the spilled material into a waste container, seal it, attach waste tag and contact EHS for disposal.
- If appropriate, wash the affected surface with soap and water. Mop up the residues and place in container for disposal.
- Call EHS if you have questions or concerns with the clean up procedures, (512) 471-3511.
Special Procedures for Radioactive Hazards
(In addition to these guidelines, refer to the University’s Radiation Safety Manual [PDF])
- Do not take any action unless you have been trained to respond, except to summon assistance.
- If it is safe to do so, attend to anyone who may have been contaminated and/or injured. Use safety showers and eyewashes as appropriate. Notify EHS Radiation Safety Section (512) 471-3511 and obtain appropriate radiation meters and assistance.
- Notify the UT Police Department (911 on campus).
- Shut off ventilation, close windows and doors, and turn off hoods if possible. Do not do this if radioactive gas is involved, as release to the environment is preferable in that case.
- Remove all personnel from the immediate spill area to a safe meeting location in or near the lab.
- With the assistance of EHS Radiation Safety Section, check all personnel for skin and clothing contamination.
- Under the guidance of EHS Radiation Safety Section, decontaminate personnel and re-survey until radiation levels are at background.
Building Evacuation Procedures
- Building evacuation may be necessary if there is a chemical release, fire, explosion, natural disaster, or medical emergency.
- Be aware of the marked exits from your area and building.
- The evacuation alarm may have flashing lights and a loud continuous siren, horn or voice.
- To activate the building alarm system, pull the handle on one of the red boxes located in the hallway. If there is a fire, call UTPD at 911, give your name, and the building name, room number and size of the fire.
- Whenever the building evacuation alarm is sounded or when you are ordered to leave by the UTPD, EHS, or emergency response personnel, walk quickly to the nearest marked exit and ask others to do the same.
- Outside, proceed to a clear reassembly area that is at least 150 feet from the affected building. Keep walkways clear for emergency vehicles.
- To the best of your ability and without reentering the building, be available to assist UTPD and EHS in their attempts to determine that everyone has been evacuated safely.
- An Emergency Command Post will be set up near the emergency site by the emergency responders. Keep clear of the post unless you have important information to report.
- DO NOT re-enter the building until you are told to do so by the UTPD, EHS, or City of Austin responders.