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5.4.3 Spill Kits

While commercially available spill kits are available from a number of safety supply vendors, laboratory personnel can assemble their own spill kits to properly clean up chemicals specific to their laboratory. Whether commercially purchased or made in-house, it is expected that all laboratories have access to an appropriately stocked spill kit to address the hazards in the space. Colleges and departments should give serious consideration to distributing basic spill kits to all laboratories within their units.

A useful spill kit can be assembled using a 2.5 or 5 gallon bucket containing the following absorbent materials. Stock only the absorbents appropriate for your space. Each container of absorbent must be labeled as to what it contains and what type of spills it can be used for.

Spill kit absorbent material:

  • 1-5 lbs of ground corn cobs (SlikQwik) – for most aqueous and organic liquid spills. 
  • 1-5 lbs of absorbent clay (kitty litter) - for oils or oxidizing liquids. 
  • 1-5 lbs of Sodium bicarbonate - for liquid acid and base spills. 
  • 1-5 lbs of Calcium carbonate or Calcium bicarbonate - for HF spills.

Equipment in the spill kit could include:

  • Wisk broom and dust pan (available at home improvement stores) 
  • Sponge 
  • pH paper 
  • 1 gallon and 5 gallon bags - for collection of spill cleanup material 
  • Small and large Ziploc bags – for collection of spill cleanup material or to enclose leaking bottles/containers. 
  • Safety goggles 
  • Thick and thin Nitrile gloves 
  • Hazardous waste labels

The spill kit should be clearly labeled as “SPILL KIT”, with a list of the contents posted on or in the kit. This list should include information about restocking the kit after use and where to obtain restocking materials.

Laboratory personnel must also be properly trained on:

  • How to determine if they can or should clean up the spill, or if they should call 911 or EHS at 607-255-8200. 
  • Where the spill kit will be kept within the laboratory. 
  • What items are in the kit and where replacement items can be obtained. 
  • How to use the items in the kit properly. 
  • How to clean up the different types of chemical spills. 
  • How to dispose of spill cleanup material.

Environmental Health and Safety can provide assistance in assembling spill kits for laboratories and offers a training class on “Cleaning Up Small Spills".  More information can be obtained by contacting Environmental Health and Safety at 607-255-8200.