Large isopropanol spill
Large Isopropanol Spill
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
A researcher was working alone in lab during the late afternoon. While trying to grab a completely full 4L isopropanol bottle from the solvent cabinet, (s)he tipped it over and dropped it on the lab floor outside of the solvent cabinet, causing it to spill over the lab floor. Initially, (s)he tried to contain the spill with paper towels and then went to grab the lab LSO to seek further advice. The two of them alerted other lab members to avoid the area and used absorbent pads from the spill kit to cordon off the area. After this, the LSO followed the protocol for large chemical spills, calling 9-1-1 to report the incident. Before emergency responders arrived to assess the situation, the LSO contacted the PI. The PI came to survey the scene and deemed it safe to clean using absorbent pads from the spill kit. At this time, emergency responders arrived. They were informed that this situation could be handled by the present lab personnel. The spill was cleaned up by laboratory personnel and manifested as hazardous waste.
Researchers should be aware of how to handle potential spills of chemicals they frequently handle in the lab.
Make a list of commonly-used bulk solvents used in the lab.
Create emergency protocols for different hazard classes in case of a large spill. These protocols could range from notifying labmates and cordoning off an area for cleanup, up to *contacting 911 for emergency assistance in the case of more hazardous spills.
*If 911 is called, it is important for a member of the lab to go meet the emergency responders and guide them to the appropriate room, as they most likely are unfamiliar with the building layout. This will save valuable time and help the emergency responders assess the scene.