Workplace Preparedness


Personnel using hazardous materials in the workplace must know storage, handling and emergency procedures of all materials they use (refer to Safety Data Sheets/Material Safety Data Sheets (SDS/MSDS) for this information). If a spill/release should occur, all personnel aware of the situation must take the necessary steps to prevent injuries and damage to property or the environment. Hazardous material spills/releases may require the evacuation of an area and/or building(s).

For hazardous material safety concerns or for assistance in classifying waste as hazardous or non-hazardous, contact Environmental, Health & Safety at (310) 825-5689 (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

For non-emergency large spill clean-up or after-hours safety concerns, contact (310) 825-9797.


  • Alert others in the area and begin to evacuate the area where the release has occurred. Turn off all electrical and spark-producing equipment, if possible.
  • Activate the building alarm and follow EMERGENCY EVACUATION procedures if the spill/release:
    • May cause immediate threat to human life
    • Contaminates more than one room
    • Has a very toxic or flammable vapor
  • Call 9-1-1 for all volatile, toxic or flammable hazardous spills/releases that may threaten personnel, property or the environment.
    NOTE: For non-emergency spills/releases during normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.), contact Environmental, Health & Safety at (310) 825-5689; if after hours, call 9-1-1.
  • Take appropriate steps to ensure no one evacuates through the contaminated area - secure the area by closing doors, controlling access to spill site, and/or posting danger signs.
  • Assist injured or contaminated individuals:
    • Start any required first aid immediately - follow Material Safety Data Sheet protocols.
    • Avoid contact, contamination, and/or chemical exposure as much as possible; isolate contaminated persons. Use appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., gowns, goggles, gloves).
    • If you perceive a life-threatening or medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
    • For non-emergency medical assistance, call the Occupational Health Facility at (310) 825-6771 (employees) or the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center at (310) 825-4073 (students).
  • If possible, obtain the Safety Data Sheets/Material Safety Data Sheets (SDS/MSDS) or other hazardous material information (product name, manufacturer, phone number, etc.), and provide to emergency response personnel.
  • Notify the lab manager, department administrator, and/or building manager and report the location of the spill and type of chemical involved.

Precautions and Guidance

  • DO NOT attempt to contain or clean up the spill/release - ONLY personnel trained to respond to hazardous material spills/releases and have the appropriate equipment are allowed to do so. Trained personnel shall: (1) refer to the Material Safety Data Sheets prior to attempting any containment or clean-up; and (2) use personal protective equipment (goggles, gloves, shoe covers) when cleaning up the spill. Spill kits are available in each lab - use the appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb the hazardous material. Collect waste and seal in a proper container and label it clearly. Call Environmental, Health & Safety at (310) 206-1887 for waste pickup.
  • Turn off heat or ignition sources, if appropriate.
  • For situations where first aid is required and the Material Safety Data Sheet is unavailable (general guidelines), remove any clothing and immediately flush the affected area with clear water for fifteen (15) minutes. If hazardous material splashes in the eye, immediately flush it with water for fifteen (15) minutes in the nearest emergency eyewash station.
  • Be prepared to provide information to responding agencies as to the location of the spill/release and the material(s) involved.
  • For outdoor/external hazardous material releases (e.g., toxic cloud; campus- or community-wide incidents), follow the instructions provided by emergency response personnel. You may be asked to shelter-in-place or evacuate to your Assembly Area or to an alternate location. If so, follow SHELTER-IN-PLACE or EMERGENCY EVACUATION procedures.