Mercury Spill Procedures

Mercury vapours are toxic and Mercury is a designated substance under Ministry of Labour Regulations.

  1. For a large spill call:
    416.978.7000 – Environmental Protection Services (Hazardous Materials) (8:00-4:00, Weekdays)
    After hours call Campus Police: St. George Campus: 416.978.2222
    Mississauga Campus: 905.569.4333

    Scarborough Campus: 416.978.2222
  2. Seal off the area until assistance arrives.
  3. Small spills should be cleaned up immediately with an aspirator bulb, medicine dropper or a mercury sponge.  Do not use household or shop vacuum cleaner.
  4. Place the mercury in a container and seal it. Contaminated items (e.g. broken thermometer, gloves, suction bulbs, etc.) should also be placed into the container.
  5. Commercial mercury spill kits may be used if available in the laboratory.
  6. Once larger mercury droplets are removed, wash the surface with mercury neutralizing solution such as 20% sodium sulphide or sodium thiosulphate.
  7. If mercury has broken up into smaller globules, sprinkle with sulphur powder or commercial product and leave for several hours before cleanup.  Attempt to prevent the spread of mercury outside of the contaminated area.
  8. Dispose of all cleanup materials as hazardous waste. Waste must be properly packaged, sealed and labelled with hazardous waste label. Refer to Chemical Waste Disposal Procedures.
  9. Call Environmental Protection Services (Hazardous Materials) at 416.946.3473 for collection and disposal of the waste.
  10. Report the incident to supervisor and to Environmental Health & Safety using the Accident/Incident Report form.

For Spill Definition