Emergency Information and Planning

Planning and preparations should be made for potential emergencies. Local emergency personnel such as local fire departments should be consulted and notified of the locations of pesticides and fertilizers storage as well as regularly updated lists of chemicals stored. Storage areas should be properly placarded. Training and orientation should also be conducted with employees to review those plans and preparations.

New York State responds to reports of petroleum and other hazardous material releases through the Spill Response Program maintained by the NYSDEC. Spill response staff throughout the State investigate such spill reports and take action based on the type of material spilled, the potential environmental damage, and safety risks to the public. Releases to the environment should be reported to the NYSDEC Spills Management Hotline at 1-800-457-7362.  See http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8428.html for more information on reporting of spills.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)), revised in 2012, requires that the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly MSDSs or Material Safety Data Sheets) for each hazardous chemical to downstream users to communicate information on these hazards. The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except now the SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent user-friendly, 16-section format. More information on SDS can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3514.html.

An up-to-date file should be maintained with copies of all the SDS reports for all chemicals used, stored on the property, and made available to employees. Copies of these files can be provided to local fire departments and hospitals in case of any emergency.

First Aid

Adequate provisions should be provided to immediately treat any person exposed to chemical exposure including eye wash stations and showers. First aid kits should be maintained to treat skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation.

Spill Management

Cornell’s Occupational and Environmental Health Department (OEHD) at the Cornell College of Agricultural Sciences have guidelines that can be used a template for spill management:

  • Evacuate personnel from the immediate area of the spill.
  • Control the spill. Do not endanger yourself. To the extent possible, shut off the source and block the flow.
  • Call 911 if:
    • anyone is injured
    • the spill is too large for a local clean up
    • the spill migrates off-site
    • the spill threatens the health and safety of anyone
  • Identify the spilled material(s).
  • Barricade the area and notify others in surrounding areas not to enter the spill area.
  • Wait for help to arrive.

Spill kits (Appendix I) can be used for incidental releases and the following procedures followed:

  • Consult the appropriate SDS and label (for pesticides).
  • Wear the appropriate PPE.
  • Contain the spill. Prevent spread or escape from the area by using sorbents.
  • Clean up the spill. Never hose down an area until the cleanup is completed.

To clean up pesticides:

  • Recover as much product as possible in a reusable form. Store and use as intended. Recover the rest of the product as a waste product by using an adsorbent or sweeping compound.
  • When all recoverable material is secured, clean contaminated surface residues using triple-rinse technique; for instance, a spill of liquid on the floor requires that the area be damp-mopped three times.

To clean up all other chemicals:

  • Small liquid spills can be cleaned up with a commercially available absorbent. Avoid using paper towels; they increase the surface area and the rate of evaporation, increasing the fire hazard.
  • For acid or base spills, use a sorbent that will neutralize the liquids (trisodium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, or other commercially available products).
  • Use a dustpan and brush to sweep up the absorbed spill. Wash the contaminated area with soap and water.