Environmental Spill/Leak


 Hazardous materials are defined as a vast collection of various materials that pose a threat to life, health, property, or the environment.  Hazardous materials may be radioactive, flammable, combustible, explosive, toxic, noxious, corrosive, oxidizable, or irritating.

Incidents involving hazardous materials may originate within your Premises or from an external source.  (The first step is to identify the hazardous materials that may be located in the Building.)  This could include a wide variety of substances from industrial chemicals used in a manufacturing process to cleaning fluids stored in a janitor’s closet.

External threats may be more difficult to identify.  Some potential threats may be easy to identify; a building next to a nuclear reactor could be exposed to radiation in the event of an incident.  Other threats may be less obvious. A hospital or doctor’s office many use radioactive materials.  Buildings located near a highway or railroad could be threatened by almost any substance being carried on those transportation routes.

If you are instructed by the authorities to remain where you are, it may be necessary to seal the Building to limit or prevent the intrusion of the hazardous material.  Doors and windows may need to be located and gaps around doors and windows may need to be sealed with damp towels and duct tape. Other vents, cracks, or Building openings may need to be sealed as well.  If outside air cannot be eliminated, the ventilation system may need to be turned off.  You should closely monitor and follow any orders or recommendations given by the responding authorities. Furthermore, avoid inhalation of fumes, smoke, etc.

In case of imminent danger to health, property or the environment:

  • Act quickly and follow the instructions of local emergency coordinators
    • Every situation can be different, so local emergency coordinators might have special instructions for you to follow
  • The three most important things to do if you think you may have been exposed to a dangerous chemical are:
    • Quickly remove your clothing
    • Wash yourself
    • Dispose of your clothing in plastic bag
  • Refer to the MSDS for the spilled material and seek medical attention and/or render first aid
  • Isolate area of spill by shutting doors or use of other means.
  • Move contaminated personnel to an isolated area away from other staff
  • For indoor releases/spills: leave the area and pull fire alarm to initiate Building evacuation
  • For outdoor releases/spills: If possible to do so safely (without risk of overexposure) take action to stop the release and prevent or minimize releases to storm sewers