Chemical Spills

Types of Spills

There are two types of spills that you may run into: Simple Spills and Complicated Spills.

Simple Spills are small, confined, and present minimal hazards. You can clean these up. Neutralize or absorb the spill. Contact EHS if you have any questions.

Remember, if the spilled material is hazardous it must be treated as such after it has been cleaned up. Check with EHS for guidance on disposal of spill clean up materials.

Complicated Spills first need to be identified as complicated. Ask the following questions:

  • Is the identity of the chemical unknown?
  • Are multiple chemicals involved?
  • Is the material highly toxic, highly corrosive, flammable, or reactive?
  • Did the spill occur in a public space, such as a hallway?
  • Is the spill in danger of spreading to other parts of the building, such as through the ventilation system?
  • Are you unsure about how to clean this spill up?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions you have a Complicated Spill. In response to a Complicated Spill you should follow the procedures below.

Procedures for Complicated Spills

  1. Evacuate the area to the extent appropriate.
  2. Warn fellow workers and supervisors.
  3. Call Environmental Health & Safety at (573) 882-7018. At night, on weekends, or holidays call the University of Missouri Police Department at (573) 882-7201.
  4. Take action to contain the spill if it is possible to do so without jeopardizing personal well being.
  5. Do not call state or national chemical numbers without prior authorization from EHS, unless the spill is of disaster proportions and immediate contact with EHS is impossible.

Spill Kits

EHS does not normally provide spill kits to users of hazardous materials; however, we have arranged special pricing with Fisher Scientific for some of their kits to encourage MU labs to purchase them. Discounted MU pricing is only available through the eProcurement system (contact your department’s fiscal officer for assistance). The kits included are shown in the table below.

Fisher Catalog Number Description
17-985-128 Spill response kit 6 gallon drum
19-034-159 Mini Spill Kit
17-206A Spill response kit 20 gallon drum
17-206B Spill response kit 55 gallon drum
19-034-96B Chemical spill cabinet

These kits are designed to be as universal as possible; if you find that they do not suit your needs, call (573) 882-3736, or email

Laboratory Spill Response Kit

It is strongly encouraged that each laboratory on campus have a spill response kit readily available. The following things should be included in the kit:

Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Gloves (latex/nitrile/rubber gloves, extra large size or sized to each kit user)
  • Face shield
  • Safety goggles, or safety glasses with side shields
  • Disposable coveralls or a suit with hood
  • Hair covering
  • HEPA masks or respirator
  • Rubber boots
  • Shoe covers.

Cleanup supplies:

  • 2-red bags
  • 2- cloth rags
  • 2-clear bags
  • Brush
  • Roll of clear tape
  • Flashlight
  • Barricade warning tape
  • Anti-microbial wipes
  • Household bleach or spray disinfectant,
  • Paper towels
  • Absorbent-sock, decon pad
  • Vermiculite
  • Scoop
  • Floor drain cover.
  • Mechanical means for dealing with broken glass
  • Forceps
  • Small dustpan and broom (disposable recommended)
  • Sharps container or bucket labeled "Broken Glass" (Metal or thick plastic)
  • Specific directions and SDS for use of complicated equipment and disinfectants in the biosafety spill kit.

Note: Annually, check all supplies for deterioration and replace disinfectants or determine if they are still usable.

User Information :

Post on the outside of Laboratory Biosafety Spill Kit container:

  • Inventory sheet of equipment and materials in the biosafety spill kit.
  • Phone contact number for responsible Principal Investigator/Supervisor.
  • EHS Phone # (882-7018) to report ALL releases & Blood Borne Pathogen exposures.

Available inside the Laboratory Biosafety Spill Kit:

  • Copy of the “Emergency Notification Signage” for the laboratory.
  • Copy of the “Laboratory Specific Emergency Plans” for the laboratory.
  • Copy of the “Immediate Biohazard Emergency Response” procedures.

Basic Biosafety Spill Kit for Individual Work Area:

  • Disinfectant (bleach 1:10 dilution, prepared fresh daily) or biohazard specific disinfectant
  • Absorbent pads, pillows & material (paper towels)
  • Waste Container (biohazard bags, sharps containers)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (lab coat, gloves, eye and face protection)
  • Mechanical Tools (forceps, small disposable dustpan and broom)

spill kit