Environmental Health & Safety

Spill Cleanup

The following protocol is to be used for spill cleanup:

  1. Remove any potentially contaminated clothing
  2. Place contaminated materials in a biohazardous waste bag for autoclaving
  3. If spill is outside of the biological safety cabinet:
    • Evacuate the laboratory immediately
    • Close the doors if you are the last person
    • Vacate for at least 30 minutes to allow time for the laboratory ventilation system to clear any aerosolized material, thus decreasing risk of inhalation.
  4. Wash hands and skin thoroughly with soap and water
  5. Caution others (not needed for spill cleanup) to stay away from the spill area; post signs if necessary 
  6. If spill occurs outside of the laboratory, obtain assistance by contact Environmental Health & Safety (951) 827-5528
  1. Obtain a spill kit (if available)
  2. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE):
    • At minimum disposable gloves, eyewear, and lab coats should be worn
    • A dusk mask respirator (N95) is advised for spills greater than ~10 mL outside a biological safety cabinet, or any spill inside a centrifuge, due to the likelihood of splashing and/or aerosolization of the biohazardous material.
  3. Remove any sharp contaminated objects using mechanical means (never with hands)
  4. Absorb the spilled material with disposable paper towels (as much as possible)
  5. Pour disinfectant carefully around the edges of the spill (avoid splashing):
  1. Wipe from the outside towards the center:
    • For centrifuge spills: Move rotor and its contents to a biological safety cabinet (if applicable)
    • For biological safety cabinet spills: Clean spill tray and the trough below the air intake grill
  2. Discard inital cleanup materials
  3. Decontaminate by flooding spill area with disinfectant for at least 20 minutes
  4. Absorb disinfectant with disposable paper towels
  5. Soak clean towels with disinfectant
  6. Completely wipe down the area
  7. Repeat for equipment, walls, or other areas likely to have been splashed
  8. Discard final cleanup materials and PPE
  9. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water


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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Environmental Health & Safety

Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Health & Safety

Tel: (951) 827-5528
Fax: (951) 827-5122
E-mail: ehs@ucr.edu