Emergency Contact Information

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

Campus Safety 212-998-2222
Research & Laboratory Safety 212-998-1420
Environmental Health & Safety 212-998-1450
NYU Client Services Center 212-998-1001
Poison Control 212-POI-SONS

Research and Laboratory Safety recommends that these phone numbers be posted beside all NYU phones. The stickers are linked below and can be printed using  Avery Label #5260.

Emergency Phone Number Labels (DOC: 22KB)

All areas where chemicals are stored or used should have an Emergency Contact Information Door Sign (PDF: 93 KB) 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.

Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), are documents produced by manufacturers that describe the hazards of their products.  Printed copies of SDSs must be available to employees who do not have computer access.

Safety Data Sheets must be accessible 24 hours a day to all persons using chemicals. SDSs are  available at the following locations:

  • SciShield SDS search tool
  • Websites for the manufacturer who supplied the chemical

Additional details on SDSs can be found here.

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. More information on the management of chemicals and spills can be found in the Lab Safety Manual (DOC: 4.3 MB) .

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 Campus Safety at 212-998-2222.
  • 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 15 minutes.
  • Remove contaminated clothing at once.
  • Make sure chemical has not accumulated in shoes.
  • Obtain medical attention, if necessary.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principal 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/principal 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 Research and Laboratory Safety. For large-volume liquid mercury spills the area should be cordoned off, ventilated, and vacated and Research and Laboratory Safety should be contacted immediately.

To record any mercury spills, it is necessary to document the incident in SciShield by filling out an incident reporting form within the system.

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 the spill area with commercially available formaldehyde-neutralizing powder. Sweep absorbed material into an airtight container, label it with the appropriate content and volume information, and dispose of it through Research and Laboratory 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.
  • Don PPE; lab coat, disposable gloves, and safety glasses.
  • Cover spill with paper towels or other absorbent material.
  • Carefully pour a freshly prepared 1 in 10 dilution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) 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.
  • Clean spill area again with fresh towels soaked in 10% bleach solution.
  • Dispose of spill clean-up materials as biowaste.

Microorganisms Requiring BSL 2 Containment 

  • Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  • Place a "do not enter biological spill" sign on the door.
  • Report spill to supervisor and RLS.
  • Remove all contaminated clothing, and decontaminate (autoclave, if necessary). If necessary, use an emergency shower in the immediate area.
  • Allow at least 30 minutes for droplets to settle and aerosols to be reduced before reentering.
  • Don protective equipment (long sleeved lab coat, disposable gloves, safety goggles and face shield and disposable shoe covers, if needed).
  • Isolate spill area and any equipment that may have been contaminated by splash during the spill.
  • Apply absorbent to prevent spreading.
  • Pour disinfectant slowly around spill edges.
  • Cover with disinfectant-soaked paper towels and allow at least 20 minutes of contact time (however, use the recommended disinfectant and contact time for the material you are handling).
  • Work from edges inward.
  • Use paper towels to absorb the spill, working from the edges to center.
  • Dispose of cleanup materials as biohazard waste.

Biological Spill on Body

  • Remove contaminated clothing.
  • Wash the exposed area with soap and water for 15 minutes.
  • Obtain medical attention, if necessary.
  • Contact Campus Safety (212-998-2222) for transport to Student Health or other healthcare facilities.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principal investigator, and RLS.

Radiation Spill on Body

  • Remove contaminated clothing.
  • Rinse exposed area thoroughly with water.
  • Obtain medical attention, if necessary.
  • Report incident to supervisor/principal investigator and Campus Safety at 212-998-2222.

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 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 Research and Laboratory Safety. If the substance was biological, then the cleanup materials should be handled and disposed of as biological waste.