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Emergency Response

Emergency Contact Information

The following are important phone numbers to know in case of an emergency.

Public Safety 82222
Environmental Health and Safety 81450
FCM Help Desk 81001
Poison Control 212-POI-SONS
  9-1-212-764-7667

The following numbers are important to know in case of an emergency at the Dental Center.

Public Safety 89828
Environmental Health and Safety 81450
Quality Assurance 89932/89949
Building Office 89231/89433
Poison Control 212-POI-SONS
  9-1-212-764-7667

Environmental Health and Safety recommends that these phone numbers be posted beside all NYU phones. Environmental Health and Safety has stickers with these phone numbers, sized so as to fit on most phone receivers or print the following on Avery Label #5260.

Washington Square Campus Emergency Phone Number Labels (PDF)

Dental Center Emergency Phone Number (PDF)

All areas where chemicals are stored or used should have an Emergency Contact Information Door Sign (PDF) posted on the door. The names of the people responsible for that area, as well as 24/7 contact phone numbers for those people should be listed on the sign. For laboratory departments, the principal investigator's and departmental lab director's contact information should be displayed. For other locations, the building manager's and any other responsible party's contact information should be displayed.

Material Safety Data Sheets

Copies of Material Safety Data Sheets are located in the Environmental Health and Safety Office. Public Safety has access to these documents in the event of an emergency. In addition, many chemical MSDS can be found on the web. One very useful link for MSDS search: http://www.ilpi.com/msds/

Chemical Spill

The range and quantity of hazardous substances used in laboratories requires preplanning to respond safely to chemical spills. The cleanup of a chemical spill should only be done by knowledgeable and experienced personnel. Spill kits, absorbents, reactants and protective equipment should be available to clean up minor spills. A minor chemical spill is one that the laboratory staff is capable of handling safely without the assistance of safety or emergency personnel. All other chemical spills are considered major chemical spills.

Minor Chemical Spill

  • Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  • Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves and long sleeve lab coat.
  • Avoid breathing vapors from spill.
  • Confine spill to small area.
  • Use appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases.
  • For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand, kitty litter or diatomaceous earth.
  • Collect residue, place in container and dispose as chemical waste.
  • Clean spill area with water.

Major Chemical Spill

  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure.
  • Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.
  • If spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources.
  • Call Public Safety x 82222.
  • Close doors to affected area.
  • Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory, meet and assist emergency personnel.

Chemical Spill on Body

  • Flood exposed area with running water for at least 5 minutes.
  • Remove contaminated clothing at once.
  • Make sure chemical has not accumulated in shoes.
  • Obtain medical attention, if necessary.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principle investigator.

Hazardous Material Splashed in Eye

  • Immediately rinse eyeball and inner surface of eyelid with water continuously for 15 minutes (hold eye open to ensure effective washing behind eyelids).
  • Obtain medical attention.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principle investigator.

Mercury Spill

Mercury spill kits should be available in areas where mercury is used. Most small mercury spills (e.g., thermometers, etc.) can be handled by trained lab personnel. Spill materials should be placed in an airtight container, labeled with the appropriate content and volume information and disposed of through Environmental Health and Safety. For large volume liquid mercury spills the area should be cordoned off, ventilated and vacated and Environmental Health and Safety should be contacted immediately.

Please fill out the Mercury Spill Form (PDF) and send to Environmental Health and Safety.

Laboratories are encouraged to replace mercury thermometers with alcohol thermometers to eliminate hazards and costs of mercury clean ups.

Formaldehyde Spill

In the case of a formaldehyde spill, cordon off, ventilate and vacate the area. Sprinkle spill area with commercially available formaldegyde-neutralizing powder. Sweep absorbed material into an airtight container, label with the appropriate content and volume information, and dispose of through Environmental Health and Safety. The area should remain well ventilated and vacant until the spill area is completely dry.

Microorganisms Requiring BSL 1 Containment

  • Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  • Put on appropriate protective equipment including, at a minimum, disposable gloves and safety glasses.
  • Cover spill with paper towels or other absorbent material.
  • Carefully pour a freshly prepared 1 in 10 dilution of household bleach (or other appropriate disinfectant) around the edges of the spill and then into the spill. Avoid splashing.
  • Use paper towels to absorb the spill, working from the edges to center.
  • Place all towels in plastic bag for disposal and and label appropriately.
  • Clean spill area again with fresh towels soaked in 10% bleach solution.

Microorganisms Requiring BSL 2 Containment including Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials

  • Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  • Put on appropriate protective equipment including, at a minimum, disposable gloves, long-sleeved lab coat, and safety glasses.
  • Cover spill with paper towels or other absorbent material.
  • Carefully pour a freshly prepared 1 in 10 dilution of household bleach (or other appropriate disinfectant) around the edges of the spill and then into the spill. Avoid splashing.
  • Allow a 20-minute contact period.
  • Use paper towels to absorb the spill, working from the edges to center.
  • Place all towels in plastic bag for disposal and and label appropriately.
  • Clean the spill area with fresh paper towels soaked in 10% bleach or other disinfectant.

For spills outside of a biosafety cabinet that may generate aerosols, see 'Note' below.

Microorganisms Requiring BSL 3 Containment

  • Attend to injured/contaminated persons and remove from exposure.
  • Alert people in the laboratory to evacuate.
  • Close doors to affected area.
  • Call Public Safety x 82222.
  • Have person knowledgeable of incident and laboratory assist emergency personnel.

Note:

Biological spills outside biological safety cabinets can generate aerosols that can be dispersed in the air throughout the lab. These spills are very serious if they involve microorganisms that require Biosafety Level (BSL) 3 containment, since most of these agents have the potential for transmitting disease by infectious aerosols. To reduce the risk of inhalation exposure in such an incident, occupants should hold their breath and leave the lab immediately. The lab should not be re-entered to decontaminate and clean up the spill for at least 30 minutes. During this time the aerosol will be removed from the lab by the exhaust air ventilation system.

Protective Equipment

Protective equipment is very important in decontaminating spills involving microorganisms that require either BSL 2 or BSL 3 containment. This equipment includes: a lab coat with long sleeves, back-fastening gown or jumpsuit, disposable gloves, disposable shoe covers, safety goggles and mask or full face shield. Use of this equipment will prevent contact with contaminated surfaces and protect eyes and mucous membranes from exposure to splattered materials.

Biological Spill on Body

  • Remove contaminated clothing.
  • Vigorously and thoroughly wash exposed area with soap and water.
  • Obtain medical attention, if necessary.
  • Contact Public Safety (8-2222) for transport to Student Helath or other healthcare facility.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principle investigator, and EHS.

Radiation Spill on Body

  • Remove contaminated clothing.
  • Rinse exposed area thoroughly with water.
  • Obtain medical attention, if necessary.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principle investigator and Public Safety (x 82222).

Disposal of Spill Clean-up Materials

All materials (paper towels, absorbent materials, etc.) used to clean up a chemical or biological spill should be considered to exhibit the same characteristics as would the material that was spilled. If the substance spilled was a chemical, the cleanup materials should be handled as hazardous chemical waste and disposed of through Environmental Health and Safety. If the substance was biological, then the cleanup materials should be handled and disposed of as biological waste.

 

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