What Is a Chemical Spill Kit and How Do You Use It?

What Is a Chemical Spill Kit and How Do You Use It?

Every year, exposure to harmful chemicals causes over 190,000 illnesses and injuries in U.S. businesses. Whether your company is large or small, personnel who come into contact with corrosive chemicals need to know how to use a spill kit. What is a spill kit and how do you use it effectively?

How To Use a Spill Kit

A chemical spill kit is a set of items for cleaning up hazardous chemicals safely. Spill kits have three purposes:

  • Containment: To prevent hazardous spills from spreading
  • Neutralization: To minimize the risks from spilled chemicals
  • Removal: To dispose of hazardous materials properly

Follow safety guidelines and refer to the appropriate Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to achieve these objectives.


When a spill occurs, Inform qualified personnel, such as the safety team. Cordon off the area using caution tape, floor signs or barricade safety tags per OSHA requirements.


Find out which chemical is involved, then check SDS cleanup guidelines. When your organization follows OSHA labeling requirements for hazardous chemicals, personnel can identify products quickly. Our helpful Chemical Sign Selector Tool makes it easy to find GHS labels, hazmat signs, NFPA diamonds and pictograms.

Gear Up

Cleanup personnel should wear full personal protective equipment. This may involve chemical-resistant gloves, safety goggles, lab coats and aprons.


Use the appropriate compound to neutralize hazardous chemicals, such as sodium bicarbonate or soda ash for acids and ascorbic or citric acid for bases. Follow SDS dilution guidelines.


Prevent the spill from spreading using a physical barrier. Chemical-resistant brooms, scoops or brushes can help.


Use absorbent materials from your spill kit to clean up the neutralized chemicals, working from the outside toward the center. Kits may contain paper towels, cat litter, absorbent pillows or safety pads.


Dispose of paper towels, sweeping compound, rags, absorbent pillows and other cleanup materials. Use a plastic container with appropriate markings for hazardous materials.

How To Maximize Safety With Spill Kits

Manufacturers, research labs and industrial businesses work with hazardous chemicals frequently. Knowing how to use a spill kit correctly is essential for safety.

Identify Spill Kits Clearly

Store spill kits in areas where chemical spills are likely, such as on the wall near production lines. Use prominent spill kit signage so your personnel can see the closest kit immediately in an emergency.

Create a Positive Workplace Culture Around Spill Kits

About one in three lab workers don’t inform a supervisor about workplace accidents. Encourage employees to be swift and proactive when spills occur instead of assigning blame.

Check Spill Kits Periodically

Make sure neutralizing substances in your spill kit remain effective. Check expiration dates and replace items as needed.

Provide Spill Kit Training Sessions

Tools and training are both important. Show employees what to do and coordinate practice cleanup sessions.

Use the Correct Spill Kit

A chemical spill kit can be used for many acids, bases and solvents. Mercury spills need specialized cleanup kits. For water-reactive chemicals, flammable liquids, hydrofluoric acids and toxic materials, contact emergency personnel immediately.

How To Use a Spill Kit for Worker Safety

Put people ahead of other concerns. Follow safety guidelines without exceptions. Consult each chemical’s SDS for detailed instructions on how to use a spill kit for cleanup. Browse our chemical safety signs to warn your personnel effectively.