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24/7 Incident Response

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The Office of Research Safety provides emergency incident response 24 hours/ day, 7 days a week.

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) provide pertinent information regarding hazards associated with chemicals.  SDSs can be searched by specific lab inventory or Hospital wide chemicals. Click here to search SDSs. In the event of a chemical exposure, a copy of the SDS should be taken with you to Occupational Health or the Emergency Room. 

Biological Safety Manual
The Biological Safety Manual provides information on the handling, storage, transport and disposal of potentially infectious material.

Chemical Hygiene Plan
The Chemical Hygiene Plan provides information regarding the handling, storage, transport and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

For any of the following medical emergencies dial extension 42633 for the hospital's Code Team:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Change of mental status
  • Chest pain/cardiac problems/cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory distress
  • Trauma
  • Profuse bleeding

For medical emergencies that do not require resuscitation, such as fractures or lacerations, dial Security at extension 45500.

For sharp exposures (i.e., needlesticks) or splash to eyes, nose or mouth with infectious agents: Exposures involving human blood and body fluids:

  • WASH affected area with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. For eyes, nose or mouth exposures, rinse with water using an eyewash for at least 15 minutes.
  • NOTIFY your supervisor.
  • Call 5-SAFE (267-425-7233) for instruction and guidance.
  • Fill out a KAPS report online.

Exposure to other infectious agents:

  • WASH affected area with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. For eyes, nose or mouth exposures, rinse with water using an eyewash for at least 15 minutes.
  • NOTIFY your supervisor. SEEK medical attention at Occupational Health, extension 215-590-1928, weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. After hours and weekends, call the Operator 215-590-1000, ask Operator to page the Nursing Operations Lead (NOL). The NOL will call you back.
  • Fill out a KAPS report online.

Chemical spills over a large area of the body

  • REMOVE all contaminated clothing while activating the safety shower or other water source.
  • FLOOD affected body area with cool water for at least 15 minutes.
  • CALL extension 45500 for help. • SEEK medical attention at Occupational Health, extension 215-590-1928, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After hours, call the Operator 215-590-1000, ask Operator to page the Nursing Operations Lead (NOL). The NOL will call you back.
  • Fill out a KAPS report online

Chemicals spills on skin confined to a small area

  • FLUSH area with cool water for at least 15 minutes.
  • If there is NO VISIBLE BURN scrub area with warm water and soap.
  • REMOVE jewelry to facilitate removal of residual material. • REPORT to supervisor.
  • SEEK medical attention at Occupational Health, extension 215-590-1928, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After hours, call the Operator 215-590-1000, ask Operator to page the Nursing Operations Lead (NOL). The NOL will call you back.
  • Fill out a KAPS report online.

Chemicals splashed in the eye

  • FLUSH with water for a least 15 minutes, using eyewash (eyelids may need to be forcibly held open).
  • SEEK medical attention at Occupational Health, extension 215-590-1928, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After hours, call the Operator 215-590-1000, ask Operator to page the Nursing Operations Lead (NOL). The NOL will call you back. •
  • Fill out a KAPS report online.

Inhalation/Asphyxiation

  • If possible, ELIMINATE the source of the problem.
  • REMOVE the injured person from the area and call extension 215-590-5500.
  • DO NOT ENDANGER YOURSELF by entering the contaminated area, even to remove an unconscious person.
  • REMAIN at the scene but AT A SAFE DISTANCE to assist emergency personnel.

Flammable Liquid Spills

For chemical spills involving flammable liquids, corrosive or toxic agents:

  • ALERT people in surrounding area.
  • TURN on emergency hood exhaust, if it can be done safely. Turn off all flames.
  • DIAL extension 215-590-5500 from a safe location, and report location and nature of spill.

Hazardous Chemical Spills and Large Non-Hazardous Chemical Spills

Hazardous Chemicals include the following:

  • Flammable chemicals
  • Carcinogenic chemicals
  • Reproductive hazards
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Corrosive chemicals

In the event of a spill that is large or involves hazardous chemicals:

  • ELIMINATE ignition sources if time permits.
  • ALERT personnel in the area.
  • CONTACT Security at extension 215-590-5500.
  • REMAIN on the scene but at a safe distance to assist emergency personnel.

The following compounds are very hazardous. You should not clean them up yourself even in small quantities!:

  • Aromatic amines
  • Bromine
  • Carbon disulfide
  • Hydrazine
  • Cyanides
  • Nitro and nitrile compounds
  • Ethers
  • Organic halides
  • Picric acid

Small Non-Hazardous Chemical Spills

Small spills of chemicals that are not hazardous may be cleaned up by the laboratory employee. Anticipate small spills by having the appropriate safety equipment on hand. Absorbent spill pads (Spill Defense Universal Spill Pads), available through Lab Safety Supply are recommended. Decontaminate the area with soap and water after cleanup.

Disposal of Spill Clean Up Material

Place spill cleanup material in a container for hazardous waste collection. Contact the Office of Research Safety at 267-426-2272 for disposal of chemical-contaminated spill materials.

For radiation exposure with personnel contamination:

  • FLUSH area with cool water. Gently scrub with warm water and soap. Monitor the area with a radiation detector. Continue until contamination is no longer removable.
  • NOTIFY your supervisor.
  • NOTIFY Radiation Safety: Monday-Friday until 5 pm 215-898-7187; After hours 215-980-0035

Spill cleanup of biological agents is the responsibility of the employee who spilled the material. Assistance is available from Office of Research Safety personnel. Housekeeping personnel are not responsible for cleaning up spills of cultures, infected tissue cultured fluids, or unknown biological materials that occur in the laboratory or during transport.

Always wash your hands after any spill cleanup procedure, regardless of the size of the spill. If you need assistance, or have questions, please contact the Office of Research Safety at 267-426-2272 or beeper 77614.

Within the Biological Safety Cabinet

  • Wear lab coat or disposable gown, and gloves to cleanup spill.
  • Allow the cabinet to continue to operate during cleanup to contain aerosols. Immediate wipe spill with a solution of suitable disinfectant, e.g., sodium hypochlorite (1:10 dilution of household bleach).
  • All contaminated items in the biological safety cabinet should be packaged appropriately for transport to the autoclave. The use of biohazard bags, or stainless steel pans is recommended, depending on the nature of the contaminated items. Items that cannot be autoclaved such as test tubes or bottles of viable cultures to be retained should be carefully wiped with disinfectant.
  • Allow twenty minutes of contact time with the disinfectant before contaminated items are removed from the cabinet.
  • Run the cabinet for 10 minutes before resuming activity.
  • Coats, gowns, and gloves used during cleanup should be considered contaminated and placed in an infectious waste disposal container. Protective clothing that is not disposable, such as lab coats, should be autoclaved.

Outside the Cabinet - In the Laboratory

  • Remove other people from the immediate area of contamination. Allow time for aerosols to settle before re-entering the area of the spill.
  • Remove any contaminated clothing and place it in an autoclave bag. Wash contaminated skin thoroughly with disinfectant soap and water.
  • Don a disposable fluid-resistant gown, gloves, safety goggles, and surgical mask.
  • Clean up with a suitable disinfectant as follows:
  • Pour disinfectant around the edges of the spill to avoid further aerosolization, or alternatively, paper towels soaked in disinfectant can be placed over the spill area.
  • Never pick up broken glass with your hands. Use a dustpan or brush, forceps, or two sturdy pieces of cardboard.
  • All items within the spill area must be decontaminated. Allow 20 minutes of contact time to ensure adequate germicidal action. Metal equipment (microscope stages, etc.) should be cleaned very briefly with 1:10 sodium hypochlorite, then wiped with water followed by 70% alcohol.
  • Dispose of contaminated spill materials in an autoclavable biohazard bag which may be put in a stainless steel bucket or pan. A cart with side rails to prevent materials from sliding off should be used for transport to the autoclave.
  • Dispose of contaminated protective equipment in the infectious waste container. Wash your hands.

Outside the Laboratory - During Transport

  • Don a pair of gloves and initiate the cleanup immediately. Absorbent (paper towels), preferably soaked in disinfectant, must be placed on the spilled material immediately to prevent the spread of contamination.
  • Prevent others from walking into the spill. You may need to contact Security at 215-590-5500 or the Office of Research Safety at 267-426-2272 or beeper 77614 to enlist their aid in cordoning off the area.
  • Clean up should then proceed as listed in Outside the Cabinet - In the Laboratory.

Inside a Centrifuge

  • All personnel not necessary for cleanup or properly dressed, i.e., lab coat, etc., must leave the room.
  • Rotors and buckets should be removed to the nearest biosafety cabinet for decontamination.
  • The inside of the centrifuge must be thoroughly disinfected with a suitable germicide, e.g., 70% alcohol.