The range and quantities of hazardous substances used on the Pomona College campus require chemical safety training in order to minimize accidental chemical releases and ensure that when one does occur, it is handled in a safe manner. For this reason, Chemical Safety Training is required for all students who work with chemicals.

Only knowledgeable and experienced personnel should handle cleanup of a chemical spill. In the case of any spill or leak, there is the possibility of an adverse exposure to occupants in the affected area(s), and the area should be evacuated immediately. If there is the slightest doubt on how to proceed, do not hesitate to call for assistance:

EMERGENCY: Campus Safety (909) 607-2000

INFORMATION: Pomona Environmental Health and Safety (909) 607-1668


Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) provide spill and leak procedures for individual chemicals. This information should be reviewed during training conducted under either the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) or the Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450). Copies of MSDSs should be received with shipments of new materials and should be maintained in each applicable work location.

Spill kits should be available to clean up minor spills. The MSDS will provide instructions and proper personal protective equipment requirements for cleaning up minor spills. Spill kits are commercially available from most chemical supply companies. If assistance is needed in obtaining an appropriate spill kit, contact the Pomona College Environmental Health and Safety Office at 909-607-1668.

Major and Minor Spills

A minor chemical spill is one where the individual(s) responsible for the spill feel(s) that they are capable of handling the spill safely without the use of respiratory protection or the assistance of specially trained emergency response personnel (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response: 29 CFR 1910.120).

The Environmental Health and Safety Office (909-607-1668) is equipped to handle most spills that occur at Pomona College.

All other chemical spills are considered major spills. In these cases, call Campus Safety immediately (909-607-2000), and they will contact the necessary response personnel to do the clean up. If possible, provide the following information:

  • Your name and phone number;
  • Identity of material and amount spilled; and
  • Time and location of spill: building, room and where in the room


Minor Chemical Spills

In the event of a minor spill of hazardous material:

  • Alert people in immediate area of spill.
  • Wear protective equipment as needed, including safety goggles or face shield, gloves and lab coat. Consult the MDSD for proper personal protective equipment requirements.
  • Avoid breathing vapors from the spill. Increase area ventilation by turning on hoods and opening windows.
  • Confine spill to small area with absorbent materials
  • Use an appropriate spill kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases. For other chemicals, use appropriate kit or absorb spill with vermiculite, dry sand, and diatomaceous earth or paper towels.
  • Collect residue, place in container, label container,and contact Environmental Health andSafety at 909-607-1668 for proper disposal information.
  • Clean spill area with water.

Major Chemical Spills

In the event of a major spill of hazardous material:

  • Evacuate and immediately call Campus Safety (909-607-2000). If possible, the following information should be made available to emergency response personnel:
    • Your name and phone number
    • Identity of material
    • Location of spill: building, room, location in room
    • Time of spill
    • Amount of spilled material
  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure. In case of personal contamination, remove affected clothing and flush contaminated skin with water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention immediately. Bring the MDSD along with you if available.
  • Alert people in the surrounding area to evacuate.If there is no health or safety risk, turn off ignition and heat sources, maintain fume hood ventilation and open windows to increase ventilation.
  • Close doors (do not lock them) to affected are a once the area is evacuated.
  • Have someone knowledgeable of the incident and the laboratory available to assist emergency personnel when they arrive.
  • Anyone who could have been exposed to hazardous chemicals should go to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Urgent Care during business hours (open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays) or at all other times to Montclair Medical Center Emergency Room.

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Urgent Care

1601 Monte Vista Avenue, Ste. 190
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 865-9977
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday thru Friday; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends and holidays

Montclair Hospital Medical Center Emergency Room

5000 San Bernardino St.
Montclair, CA 91763
(909) 625-5411

Mercury Spills

This could include broken thermometers.

• Report mercury spills that are not contained or that could result in environmental contamination to Campus Safety (909-607-2000).

• Gloves, eye protection, and a lab coat should be worn in the area of a mercury spill.

• If contamination is on the floor, prevent the mercury from spreading by isolating the area if possible (barrier tape, closed doors).

• Contained material should be placed in a secure, labeled container—polyethylene containers are best. Call Environmental Health and Safety at (909) 607-1668 for disposal information.