Written by Lucy Budhoo, Exposure Prevention Specialist, Workplace Health & Safety

What to do when a hazardous chemical is spilled in a department.

In July, there were 291 incidents reported to the Provincial Workplace Health Call Centre, with 111 accepted as claims.

Top Five Incidents

  • #1 Violence (24% or 71 incidents, 11 accepted claims)
  • #2 Patient handling (19% or 55 incidents, 32 accepted claims)
  • #3 Material handling (12% or 34 incidents, 19 accepted claims)
  • #4 Blood and body fluid exposures or needlesticks (10% or 30 incidents, 15 accepted claims)
  • #5 Slips, trips (10% or 30 incidents, 13 accepted claims)

Do you work with a hazardous chemical?

There are a number of hazardous chemicals in health care such as formalin, alcohols and enzymatics. Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is available to assist in working safely with these products and developing safe work procedures for areas where they are used.

What do I do if I spill a hazardous chemical?

The steps for addressing chemical spills are described in the chemical spill clean-up procedures. Take the Chemical Spill Response Training online course available on the Learing Hub. Practical training is recommended to be conducted annually to ensure staff know what to do in case of a spill. A facilitator guide is available for department supervisors to conduct mock drills.

When do I call a code brown?

A code brown is called when the volume of the spill exceeds the limits set out in the chemical spill cleanup procedures, exceeds the capacity of the department or when department staff have not been trained in chemical spill clean-up. Take the Code Brown online course available on the Learning Hub

What happens when I call a code brown?

Quantum Murray, a contracted hazardous material company is called to come to the site to clean up the spill. They will determine when it is safe to return to the evacuated area.

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