Highly toxic materials (e.g., dimethylmercury)

1.   Alert all trained laboratory personnel in the laboratory and the general vicinity of the spill and immediately evacuate the area.

2.   Decontaminate any victims at a safety shower or eyewash unit in a safe location. Take other appropriate decontamination action as described in the MSDS.

3.   Immediately notify appropriate personnel.4

4.   Limit or restrict access to the area as necessary.

5.   Do not attempt to clean up the spill. EHS personnel will evaluate the hazards that are involved with the spill and will take the appropriate actions.

6.   Only EHS personnel and appropriate outside industrial hygienists are authorized to decontaminate the area and dispose of the contaminated waste.

7.   Complete an incident report and submit it to the appropriate office or individual.

2.F.4 Accident Procedures

In the event of an accident, follow all institutional policies for emergency response and notify the internal point of contact for laboratory safety and local emergency responders. All accidents involving personal injury, however slight, must be immediately reported according to your institution’s procedure. Provide a copy of the appropriate MSDS to the attending physician, as needed. Complete an accident report (Figure 2.2) and submit it to the appropriate office or individual within 24 hours of the incident.


Newly hired employees or students working in a laboratory should be required to attend basic safety training prior to their first day. Additional training should be provided to laboratory personnel as they advance in their laboratory duties or when they are required to handle a chemical or use equipment for the first time.

Safety training should be viewed as a vital component of the laboratory safety program within the organization. The organization should provide ongoing safety activities that serve to promote a culture of safety in the workplace that will begin when the person begins work and will continue for the length of their tenure. Personnel should be encouraged to suggest or request training if they feel it would be beneficial. The training should be recorded and related documents maintained in accordance with organizational requirements.

Training sessions may be provided in-house by professional trainers or may be provided via online training courses. Hands-on, scenario-based training should be incorporated whenever possible. Safety training topics that may prove to be helpful to laboratory personnel include

   use of CHPs and MSDSs,

   chemical segregation,


   safety showers and eyewash units,

   first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation,

   chemical management,

   gas cylinder use,

   fire extinguisher training,

   laser safety, and

   emergency procedures.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement