How To Clean Up Chemical Spills In The Workplace

Friday 24th November 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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People cleaning up a chemical spill CONTENTS

Chemical spills in the workplace can threaten the health and safety of your employees, and risk damage to your property. A swift, effective response is critical to protecting your staff and resuming operations as soon as possible. 

At ICE Cleaning we offer our chemical spill cleaning services across the UK. Our highly qualified and accredited technicians can be on site in hours in an emergency to deal with any type of chemical spill. They are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including bank holidays. 

Read on to learn about the effects of a chemical spill in the workplace and the steps that should be a part of your chemical spill response procedure.

The impacts of a chemical spill in the workplace

Exposure to certain compounds can result in intense health effects, including skin inflammation, eye injuries, or even breathing difficulties. Some substances might also be carcinogenic, which means they could cause cancer with prolonged exposure. 

It's not just those directly exposed who are at risk either; hazardous substances can spread through air vents or on clothing, potentially affecting a wider group of people.

Beyond this immediate threat to human health is the broader impact on our environment. Chemicals that enter water systems may harm aquatic life, while those absorbed into soil can affect local flora and fauna. 

Professional help should always be sought when dealing with a chemical spill. Specialist cleaners can quickly deal with the situation and give you peace of mind that your workplace is safe again. 

What to do when a chemical spill occurs


Alerting all personnel straight away is imperative when a chemical spill happens in the work environment. Swift communication can help avoid injury and minimise damage.

As soon as you become aware of the spill, raise an alarm or inform your supervisor at once. This should be done without delay to ensure everyone has ample time to evacuate safely.

By following predefined emergency routes and gathering points mentioned in your company’s chemical spill response plan, you can be sure that everyone gets out unharmed.


If safe to do so, stop the chemical leaking or spilling further. First off, identify the source of the leak, and then correct the issue such as closing the open valve or sealing the container from which chemicals are leaking.

Only those who have received proper training and are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) should attempt even these initial containment measures due to the potential health risks involved with direct contact with hazardous substances.

If the chemical is flammable or there is a risk of explosion, make sure any ignition and heat sources are turned off. Chemicals that could reach with the spilled substance should also be secured and stored in the chemical segregation storage area.

Don't forget to ventilate the space by opening windows so harmful fumes don't build up. If lots of people walk by the facility and are at risk of inhaling any fumes, don't open the windows. 


If you have a chemical spill kit on site and personnel trained to use them, they should tend to the spill. They should start by using the equipment like absorbent materials and spill socks to soak up the chemical, create a barrier to stop the substance spreading, and block any drains so it does not go down them. 

Should the spilled chemical enter a drain, it could contaminate the plumbing system and pollute local water sources. Pollution is illegal and could result in a fine or a prison term. 

The affected area should also be blocked off to stop people going near the spill. This can be done by activating a containment barrier, or using caution tape and signs. If there is no one trained to clean up the spill on site, you must bring in professional cleaners.

Clean up

The material used to contain and neutralise the spill should then be collected and disposed of according to local regulations. The surfaces affected by the spill will also need to be cleaned thoroughly to ensure the workplace is safe again.

Professional cleaners will be trained in how to clean up a chemical spill, and can eliminate all traces of the substance. Should you attempt chemical spill clean up yourself without sufficient expertise or the right equipment, you could make the spill worse, such as washing it down the drain, or not cleaning the affected surfaces thoroughly enough. 

You might leave behind a dangerous environment and put yourself in harm's way, too. Alternatively, any contaminated waste not properly stored or disposed of could react with another substance, release a harmful gas, or be a fire risk. 

Get in touch

Our technicians have many years of experience dealing with chemical spillages, no matter their size or severity. You can learn more about how to respond to a chemical spill on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.  

To find out more about our chemical spill clean up services, contact our team on 0208 066 0360 or send an email to

Jess Welch

Jess Welch

Business Development Manager

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