Skip navigation.
Hazardous Chemical Spill Procedures and Equipment 
Hazardous chemical spill procedures

Spill/Release Events (three basic categories)
1.  Spills/Releases That Are Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH):

    A spill/release that, in the opinion of the area supervisor or individual responsible for the chemical or area, poses an immediate health threat to the individual and/or other occupants in the building.  In this case:

    bullet Sound the fire alarm, if appropriate.
    bullet Call 911 from a safe location and provide the following information to the dispatcher:

    Nature of the emergency


    Chemical involved


    NMSU Building name (nearest) and if appropriate room number


    Report Location as NMSU campus (cell phone calls)

    bullet Remain on scene to meet response personnel and provide additional information.

      An example would be a one-liter spill of benzene or an uncontrolled release of hazardous gas.

2.  Spills/Releases That Can Be Cleaned Up By Area Personnel: 

    Attempt to clean up a spill/release if you and/or your supervisor feel that it is safe to do so.  Guidelines include:


    You are thoroughly familiar with the hazards of the material.  (Reference MSDS)


    You have been trained to deal with spills/releases of the size in question.


    You have the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - needed for all hazardous chemicals.


    The appropriate absorbent/neutralizers are readily available.

    It is essential that you collect all spill clean up waste for proper disposal.  DO NOT PLACE IN OR AROUND THE REGULAR TRASH.  Place the spill clean up waste in a closed container and attach a NMSU Waste/Material Tracking Form if available, or at a minimum label with contents.  Contact Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at 646-3327 for waste pick up.   An example is a mercury thermometer that breaks but the mercury is contained.

 3.  Spills/Releases That Are Not IDLH But Require Technical Assistance:

    If you or your supervisor feels that you do not have the proper training or equipment necessary to clean up a spill/release then call EH&S direct at 646-3327 or 646-3311 to page EH&S staff through the NMSU Police Department.

    Note: All mercury spills are to be cleared by EH&S. Close the area and call EH&S, after hours report to NMSU campus police (646-3311).   An example would be a thermometer that breaks and scatters mercury across the floor. see (Mercury spill procedures)

Chemical Spill to Drain

    All spills that involve hazardous materials which have or are likely to be released to the Santiary sewers (sink or floor drain) must be reported to NMSU Police at 911 or 646-3311.  This is to help prevent damage to the city wastewater system.  See Spill Control / Wastewater Slug Control and signage.

Reporting Procedures

    A chemical spill report is to be completed and sent to EH&S for every significant hazardous chemical spill to help minimize hazards and ensure safety. Report form .

Chemical Splash to Body or Face

    For chemical splash to body: Immediately remove contaminated clothing & flush the areas with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes. 

    Hazardous chemical splash to Eye:  Immediately wash eye with gentle flowing water (emergency eyewash) for at least 15 minutes.

Spill Material Stations

    EH&S recommends that spill materials be situated within easy reach of the chemical storage and use areas. A spill station should contain appropriate absorbent / adsorbent, neutralizers, PPE, etc.  A sample of the items to be considered in equipping a spill station are as follows (for question call NMSU EH&S):

Suggested Chemical Spill Materials
• Polyethylene bags • 5 gal. polyethylene buckets
• Brooms or hand-brush • Mops
• Chemical splash goggles • Paper towels
• Chemically resistant gloves • Duct tape
• Chemically resistant coveralls (e.g. polyethylene coated tyvek) • Plastic dustpan
• Acid & Base neutralizer, e.g. Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) • Detergent soap
• Vermiculite  

• Large quantities of chemicals, fuels or lubricants need containment around drums as well as oil dry and specialized hazmat hogs/pigs to contain spillage.
• For some areas, respirator(s) with appropriate vapor cartridges but only if users are trained / fit tested.