Chemical Spill Response

A chemical spill is probably the most common accident in the laboratory, and in most cases can be cleaned up by laboratory personnel with minimal effort or risk. Personnel must be trained in the risks associated with the chemicals being utilized in their work, and should know when it is safe to clean up a spill.  As chemical spills are common laboratory accidents, all staff and students should be prepared to respond.


When a spill occurs, laboratory occupants must immediately assess the situation to see if the spill has created a serious or even life-threatening situation requiring an immediate building evacuation. A spill of a few millilitres of a solvent many not present a major hazard. But a spill of an appreciable volume of a flammable liquid might call for a building evacuation. For example, a spill of 4 L of a volatile, flammable liquid in a small room might well produce vapour levels in the flammable range. A spark, a flame or even a hot surface could cause a fire that might engulf the room. A total evacuation might also be required in the event of a leak of an appreciable quantity of a flammable or toxic gas.

Please review the Chemical Spill Response Guide [PDF - 464 KB] for guidance on how to respond to chemical spills on campus.

All chemical spills must be reported by submitting an Accident/Incident Report [PDF - 165 KB] to the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

Developing a Spill Response Plan

Regardless of the type or quantity of chemical involved, all worksites must implement measures to reduce the potential for spills. Planning ahead and equipping the laboratory or work area with the required equipment usually ensures a quick, safe and effective response. An effective spill response procedure should involve reviewing hazard information (SDS and other references), ensuring adequate supply of spill control materials and recommended personal protective equipment, and site-specific procedures. The complexity and detail of the plan is dependent on the physical characteristics and volume of materials being handled, their potential toxicity, and the potential for releases to the environment.

Chemical Spill Kit Locations

Dalhousie University’s Environmental Health and Safety Office supplies general chemical spill kits that are to be used in the event of Minor Spill. The shared spill kits are located in areas in proximity to laboratories where it can be easily accessed. The EHS Office will inspect the kits to ensure that required supplies are present and in good condition on an annual basis or more often if deemed necessary. Laboratory personnel should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest spill kit.

Studley Campus


Location Description

LSC - Psychology

outside Room 2280

outside Room 3280

inside Room 5257

inside Room 4245

inside Room 100

LSC - Biology & Earth Sciences

outside Room 1018

outside Room 2112

outside Room 4016

outside Room 5014

outside Room 6038

outside Room 7012

LSC - Oceanography

outside Room 2605

outside elevator on Level 3

outside Room 1605

outside elevator on Level 4

outside elevator on Level 5

Steele Ocean Science inside Room 1-40
inside Room 3-36
outside elevator on 4th floor


outside Room B6

inside Room 217

outside Room 311


inside Room 1010

outside Room 236A

outside Room 325

outside Room 425

outside Room 509

Central Services Building inside Room 106

Carleton Campus


Location Description


outside Room SB01

in Room AC124

outside passenger elevators on Level 3

outside passenger elevators on Level 4

outside passenger elevators on Level 5

outside passenger elevators on Level 6

outside passenger elevators on Level 7

outside passenger elevators on Level 8

outside passenger elevators on Level 9

outside passenger elevators on Level 10

outside passenger elevators on Level 11

outside passenger elevators on Level 12

outside passenger elevators on Level 13

outside passenger elevators on Level 14

outside passenger elevators on Level 15

Tupper link to CRC

in Room 2LD16




outside Room B10

inside Room 106

outside Room 209




in Room 1725

inside Room 2127

inside Room 2111

inside Room 3110

outside Room 4235

Sexton Campus


Location Description

F building

inside Room F010

outside Room F110

outside Room F210

outside Room F310

P building

outside Room P001

N building

outside Room N126

outside Room N321

C building

outside Room C155

D building

outside Room D104

outside Room D305A

outside Room D501

Please note that the Chemical Spill Kit locations on Sexton campus may be different than what is listed here due to ongoing construction. Please take the time to survey your area to determine the location of the spill kit nearest your lab space.

Agricultural Campus


Location Description

Haley Institute of Animal Science and Aquaculture

outside Room 219

outside Room 216

outside Room 107

inside Room 161

 Cox Institute

outside Room 116

outside Room 130

outside Room 201

outside Room 219

Banting Building outside Room 6

Chemical Spill Response Training

Everyone working with chemicals should take the Chemical Spill Response course so as to learn how to prevent spills and how to respond in the event of a chemical spill. This course is available online through the College of Continuing Education.

  1. Proceed to the Dalhousie University College of Continuing Education website.
  2. Scroll down and click on the yellow 'Login into SharePoint' icon.
  3. At this point you will see a registration document. Print this and follow the directions completely.
  4. You will receive an e-mail from the College of Continuing Education within three business days that you have been added to the Brightspace Chemical Spill Response course. You can then begin your training.
  5. Once you have passed the final quiz, you will receive a Letter of Completion via e-mail within three business days.

Following intial training, additional site specific training may be needed to address the unique hazards presented in the area.