Contact UVM Police at 9-1-1 if immediate assistance is needed.

If emergency assistance is not required, and the laboratory worker does not feel confident in their ability to safely clean up the spill, call UVM Service Operations Support (SOS) at 802-656-2560 to speak with a Physical Plant Department dispatcher. SOS can page EHS staff immediately to respond to your needs.

Emergency responders rely on the knowledge of the person who calls for help and who is present at the spill area. Get yourself to safety and wait for emergency responders to arrive.  Provide as much information as you can to make the cleanup process go smoothly.

Large Spills: Leave the area and call SOS 802-656-2560 immediately.

For Small Spills: 1-2 Liters of a hazardous chemical

Lab personnel should consider the following before attempting to clean up a small chemical spill in the lab themselves. 

  • Is there proper ventilation in the lab area?
  • Identify the hazards of the chemical that is spilled (see SDS, section 2)
  • Review the SDS for the routes of exposure of the spilled chemical. If there is an inhalation hazard and the chemical is not contained in a fume hood, leave the lab and call SOS at 802-656-2560.
  • The Chemical Spill Kit has 2 grey "universal" pads inside. Each pad can absorb up to 1 liter of liquid at most, depending on the chemical.
  • The concentration of the hazardous chemical in the spilled solution.
  • Whether or not the spill is contained in a fume hood or in a specific room othat can be contained with sufficient ventilation.
  • Whether or not there has been a release into a public area or outside into the environment. Call SOS.
  • Whether the person doing the cleanup has had adequate training to handle the material under the present conditions.
  • Is there proper PPE and emergency equipment for the specific situation at hand?

Chemical Exposure

If a person is exposed to corrosive or toxic materials, immediately use an eyewash station, drench hose or emergency shower to flush the material from the affected area! Continue flushing the area for 15 minutes and remove contaminated clothing while flushing. Call 911 for EMS and hazmat response.

How to Use An Eyewash

If a chemical gets into a worker's eyes, help get them to the nearest eyewash station

  • With the eyewash on, they should use their hands to force their eyelids open
  • Flush eyes thoroughly for 15 minutes
  • While flushing, have someone call 911

How to Use An Emergency Shower

If a worker needs to use the safety shower, they should call for help as they activate it. This will alert people to the situation and they can call 911 for medical assistance and help control the mess created by the water.

  • Remove any contaminated clothing to prevent prolonged contact on skin
  • Continue washing under the shower for 15 minutes or until emergency medical help arrives
  • Obtain additional medical attention if necessary

Make sure your eyewash and shower are ready when you need them.  See Eyewashes, Drench Hoses and Emergency Showers

Spill Clean-up Steps

Large Spills that require additional resources (greater than 1 L, high hazard, affecting multiple areas, workers lack training/equipment)


  1. Evacuate the building (pull fire alarm) if there is a threat of fire, explosion or extreme toxicity. 
  2. Meet the responding firefighters.


  1. Cover spill if possible to contain the material.
  2. Evacuate the room and/or spill area, closing the lab door behind you.
  3. Post a sign on the door stating "DO NOT ENTER - CHEMICAL SPILL" (sign can be found in Chemical Spill Kit).
  4. Call Service Operations Support at (802)656-2560 and ask them to notify EHS.

Small Spills that workers clean up themselves(less than 1 L, low hazard, and/or self-contained)

  1. Don proper personal protective equipment, including eyewear and gloves.
  2. Pick-up any broken glass, and place in a puncture-resistant container for hazardous waste disposal. When possible use mechanical means such as forceps or tweezers to pick-up the glass.
  3. Place absorbent pads/materials on the spill and allow the material to absorb. Place contaminated debris in the container with the broken glass or in a plastic bag.
  4. Wash the affected are with a mild soap solution or water and place any additional materials in the waste container with the broken glass and absorbents.
  5. Remove disposable gloves & PPE and place in the waste container. Seal the waste container and label as hazardous waste. Tag with the white hazardous waste tag.
  6. Remove additional protective equipment and thoroughly wash your hands.  Contaminated clothing or PPE may not be taken home nor laundered without additional precautions specified in regulations; contact EHS.

Chemical Spill Supplies

Lab Chemical Spill Kits

Lab chemical spill kits are distributed by EHS. These contain two absorbent gray pads, nitrile gloves, Ziploc bags, waste tags, "Do NOT Enter" sign, and instructions for use. Each pad can absorb up to 1 liter of liquid, depending on the chemical. The kit must be kept full and in clear view at all times, and all laboratory workers must be trained in its proper use. To request a kit please email

Petroleum Spill Supplies

Spill cleanup materials for petroleum spills are stationed in areas around campus.  Large, yellow drums containing oil absorbent pads and booms, and clay absorbent are located at:

  • Cage Central Utilities Plant
  • Davis Center Loading Dock
  • Given Building Loading Dock
  • Trinity Campus Heating Plant
  • Waterman Building Boiler Room
  • Simpson Hall Mechanical Room
  • Patrick Gym (PFG) Boiler Room

EHS provides training to Physical Plant personnel to ensure safe and proper use of these materials in accordance with UVM's Spill Prevention Plan (SPCC).

Contact EHS at to arrange for other spill response resources.

For Responders

Laboratory chemical hazards include flammability, corrosivity (acids and bases), reactivity/instability (water-reactive, pyrophoric, organic peroxides, etc.) and toxicity (acute and chronic). Lab chemicals are stored in small containers; usually 1-gallon or less and no bigger than 5-gallons. UVM requires lab chemical containers to be labeled with the chemical name and hazard and stored with compatible materials in appropriate locations within the lab. It is unpredictable as to what specific chemicals are used in a laboratory on a day-to-day basis.  In some laboratories, new, un-named chemicals are produced. The flammability or corrosivity of these new chemicals is generally predictable, their toxicity is not.

EHS has created the Emergency Response Map (PDF), that shows campus locations expected to contain hazardous materials. This shows laboratory buildings and lists some of the non-lab locations of hazardous materials on our campuses.

The Emergency Hazards Report (password protected) lists:

  • Emergency Contact People and Phone Numbers,
  • Spill Response Contractors, and
  • Hazardous Materials Inventories for laboratories.

*If you need this information but do not have a password, contact EHS staff through SOS (656-2560)