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  • 8.2 Spills Policies and Procedures
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Suffolk University has established these procedures to be followed by different groups inlcluding Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS), Suffolk University Police Department (SUPD), Facilities, DTZ, laboratory personnel, NESAD, etc. in response to threats or actual spills or releases of chemicals, petroleum, biohazardous materials, and other unknown substances. These procedures are communicated through various means, such as Suffolk University’s Chemical Hygiene Plan, Suffolk Emergency Plan, and also training for the CAS faculty and staff. These procedures are an integral part of Suffolk University’s OEHS Management System.


For the purpose of this procedure, a Hazardous Material is one in which the material can be characterized as any of the following:

  • Toxic
  • Corrosive (Acid/Base)
  • Flammable
  • Reactive (Explosive, Oxidizing, Pyrophoric)
  • Biological (Infectious Materials)
  • Any other Health or Physical hazard that could injure someone or cause them to become ill

An Incidental Spill is one in which ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • The quantity spilled is small; and
  • There is no fire hazard present; and
  • The spill is contained in the immediate area; and
  • The material has little or no potential of traveling to other areas or the environment (e.g., via a floor drain, sinks, etc); and
  • The spill is capable of being protected if it is in a common area (e.g., a hallway) or other area accessible to the general public; and

A Large Spill is one in which ANY of the following conditions apply:

  • A large (or undetermined) quantity was spilled; or
  • A significant fire hazard may be present; or
  • The material has the potential to travel to other areas or reach the environment (e.g. via a floor drain); or
  • The spill is in a common area (e.g. hallway) or other area accessible to the general public; or
  • Advanced personnel protective equipment (more than gloves and safety glasses) is required to respond to the spill; or
  • A responder is unsure whether the spill should be considered incidental or large.

Biological Spills: Including blood, brain or spinal fluids, semen or other bodily fluids such as vomit or saliva that contain visible blood. This type of spill can only be cleaned up by personnel who have received bloodborne pathogens training. 

Facilities Chemical Spills: Refer to spills involving hydraulic fluid, lubricants, fuel oils, coolants, cleaning agents or other chemicals used in the operations and maintenance of facilities.

Laboratory Chemical Spills:  Refer to spills involving chemicals used for teaching and research as well as waste chemicals.  



Incidental Spills - Suffolk University policy is that minor, indoor spills of hazardous materials or waste that present no immediate threat to personal health or safety, or of being released to the environment, are to be cleaned as follows:   

  • Biological Spills: Facilities(DTZ) and trained Health Services Staff (for spills within Health Services)
  • Facilities Chemical Spills: Trained Facilities Personnel
  • Laboratory Chemical Spills:  Trained Laboratory Staff

If trained Suffolk personnel are unable or unwilling to clean any of the spills described above, contact Triumvirate Environmental Inc. to clean the spill.  Hazardous material users and hazardous waste generators must be aware of the properties of the materials they use and the waste they generate. All spills described above must be reported. Notification for spills should be made directly to SUPD at extension 8111 from a University phone, or (617) 573- 8111 from any other phone, or OEHS at (617) 570-4849 or (617) 573-8628. If SUPD receives the initial contact, they will contact OEHS. Once assessment and cleanup is complete, OEHS will give the “all clear” for an area to be reoccupied.

Large Spills - Large spills are to be immediately reported to the SUPD emergency number, extension 8111 from a University phone, or (617) 573- 8111 from any other phone. If initial notification is made of a large spill, or if at any time during the spill response it is determined that the incident should be considered a large spill, OEHS will be contacted immediately to respond to the site. OEHS will take control of the situation once they are on site, fully briefed, and accept control. OEHS will defer to the Boston Fire Department once they are on site, fully briefed, and accept control. OEHS will determine if notification to outside authorities is required (and if so, will make the notification). 

Triumvirate is Suffolk University’s 24 Hour Emergency Spill Response Contractor. OEHS will respond to, and co-manage, a large spill event along with Triumvirate. OEHS and/or SUPD will be responsible for activating an Emergency Response by Triumvirate. During the duration of a large spill, OEHS will serve as the liaison among those affected, including but not limited to; outside agencies (if applicable), faculty/staff, facilities, SUPD, OEHS, Boston Fire Department or authorized outside contractors, such as Triumvirate. OEHS will also oversee all monitoring that is required to give the “all clear” for an area to be reoccupied. Additional measures to be taken during a large spill incident include:

  • Protect drains, holes and other routes that spilled material could travel to (if safe to do so). 
  • Evacuate the area and if necessary the building
  • Restrict access to the area where the spill is located (SUPD)
  • If the material is suspected of being flammable, shut off all power to the location


            Department                                Extension           From an Outside Line                      

Suffolk University Police                         8111 or 8113       617-573-8111 or 8333

OEHS – Fredrick Wafula                      4849                     617-570-4849                            

OEHS –                                         

Boston EMS/Fire/Police                          9-911                           911                                   

Facilities Management                            8110                     617-573-8110

Triumvirate Emergency Response                                       800-966-9282

Reviewed byDate
Incident Support Team9/2/2015
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