Whenever you spill a chemical or discover a spill or potentially hazardous material, tell your supervisor and coworkers in the area immediately. When a spill occurs, anyone in the area should move well away while determining the appropriate response. The appropriate response depends on whether the spill is an incidental spill, which you can clean up yourself, or a complex spill, which requires outside assistance.
Incidental spills do not spread rapidly, do not endanger people or property except by direct contact, and do not endanger the environment. The substance can be absorbed, neutralized, or controlled at the time of release by employees in the immediate release area. You can clean up an incidental spill yourself if you have the proper equipment and training and are comfortable doing so. The Department of Public Safety should be informed of an incidental spill at 617.349.8888.
Complex spills are any spills that may spread rapidly, may endanger people or property, may endanger the environment, and require an emergency response from an outside organization. A complex spill should be immediately reported to the Department of Public Safety at 617.349.8888. Give location and chemical information, if known, and have someone stay on the line to give additional information while emergency units are en route. Obtain Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the Safety Coordinator for the spilled chemical, if known. The Captain of Public Safety and Director of Physical Plant will be contacted to coordinate the response.
Anyone who may have been contaminated by the complex spill should, if necessary and prudent, immediately be put under an emergency shower and their contaminated clothes should be removed as the flow of water begins. The affected area of the skin should be washed for 15 minutes. EMS will be called and medical treatment will begin as soon as possible.
If an emergency exists, call Public Safety at 617.349.8888 or ext. 8888, and then call 911.
In the event of a chemical or biological emergency, listen to university officials for instructions on whether to remain inside or to evacuate. If you are instructed to remain inside, turn off all ventilation including furnaces, air conditioners, vents, and fans. Seek shelter in an internal room, preferably one without windows. Remain in areas where toxic vapors are reduced or eliminated.
Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 feet away from the affected building(s) or report to your assigned assembly point. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews. Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by a university official.
A person affected by a chemical or biological agent requires immediate attention by professional medical personnel. Decontamination is needed within minutes of exposure to minimize health consequences. Public Safety may direct individuals to a decontamination area.
Any chemical cloud that can affect community members in their offices would very likely affect them outside in the assembly area. If time is of prime importance, it may be necessary to evacuate several blocks from the building by foot. If this occurs, move crosswind or upwind to avoid fumes or vapors, never downwind.
If you are in an unprotected area, get upwind of the contaminated area, attempt to find shelter as quickly as possible, and listen to university officials for instructions.
NOTE: Do not attempt to clean up a hazardous chemical spill. Clean up coordination will be by Physical Plant and performed by The Cambridge Fire Department or Triumvirate Environmental - Telephone 800.966.8050.
Lesley’s Science Department has a Chemical Hygiene Plan that addresses lab spills.