What to do in an emergency in the ANF?
Can you imagine trying to reach the ANF manager while something is burning your hands? Or worse, your eyes? Please take a moment to read the following.
First, A warning to us all:
Second, Safety Videos:
- Information video on the dangers of HF
- Information video on eye injuries (disturbing)
- UCSD lab safety presentation (geeky but very good)
- How to use a safety shower (Note: the importance of a buddy)
- Lab safety video (funny: what NOT to do)
- University of Texas safety training course.
- Top 10 science lab safety rules (most still apply to our lab)
Some Hydrofluoric Acid Facts (our most dangerous chemical):
Types of emergencies that can arise in the ANF
- Alarm sounds
- Small contained chemical spill
- Medium to large or uncontained chemical spill
- Chemical spill on person (protective equipment, body, eyes)
First, unless you know the source of the emergency or the extent of the injury, treat any alarm, spill or injury as potentially life threatening or potentially leading to lifelong disability. Of course, in most cases this will not be the case but better safe than sorry
There are several alarms that can sound or be heard inside the ANF cleanrooms: the main building fire/evacuation alarm, the DI water alarms, the toxic gas alarm and the user activated evacuate alarm. Never enter the cleanrooms if any alarm is active.
- In the case of the main building evacuation alarm, leave your work and exit the ANF cleanrooms in an orderly manner, through the gowning room, and proceed to the nearest building exit. You are NOT to degown, pick up jackets/notes or anything. Treat the evacuation alarm as you would if you were in any other lab or office. The ANF manager and/or fire marshall will do a walk around the lab from the outside, make sure all doors are closed and everyone is out.
- The DI water alarms, a loud beeping sound, indicate a potential problem with the DI water system. They are generally not life threatening in certain cases it could lead to contact with dangerous chemicals. If you hear this alarm when inside the cleanroom, please evacuate in an orderly manner (turn off hotplates or Ebeam gun for instance) and advise cleanroom staff.
- Toxic gas alarm. Evacuate the lab immediately through the nearest exit. Activate the evacuate alarm if you see it (big button with red center near emergency exit doors). Do not worry about degowning; just get out of there ASAP!!!!! Report the problem to ANF staff.
- User activated evacuate alarm. This alarm is sometimes accidentally hit by users. If you hear the alarm but it stops almost immediately, then do not worry. If it does not stop after a few seconds (count to 5!), this can indicate that someone intentionally activated the alarm. In the worst case, it could be due to a large potentially life threatening chemical spill. Evacuate the lab immediately through the nearest exit. Do not worry about degowning; just get out of there ASAP!!!!! Report the problem to ANF staff.
Small contained chemical spills.
- These are usually small spills fully contained in the wetbenches. The procedure for dealing with these is explained in the wetbench SOP and should be part of your wetbench training/qualification.
Medium to large or uncontained chemical spill
- This can be a beaker of acid/base dropped on the floor or even a large quantity of a normally safe chemical like iso-propanol. Any chemical that can contaminate your cloths or that release fumes should be at a minimum treated as toxic and, at worse, potentially life threatenning or life disability. For instance, strong fumes from acids or bases can permanently damage lungs and eyes while a large quantity of acetone or propanol will cause you to faint and die of asphyxiation.
- What to do? Evacuate the lab immediately through the nearest exit. Do not worry about degowning; just get out of there ASAP!!!!! Report the problem to ANF staff.
Chemical spill on person (protective equipment, body, eyes)
- This can only happen in cases where a buddy is present in the cleanrooms (see description below).
- First, make you know where to find: eyewash station, acid shower, first aid kit, calcium gluconate gel.
- Spill on protective equipment (gloves, apron, faceshield). Work as a team. The DI water tap should always be left running while you are handling dangerous chemicals; hence, you have a first line safety valve. Taking care not to spread the contamination, get the contaminated equipment to a water source and rinse it thouroughly. Small spills on apron can be wiped with water soaked wipes. If the contaminated equipment is too big, bring in the big plastic garbage can and throw the contaminated equipment in it. Report the problem to ANF staff.
- Spill on body. Again, work as a team. Get the contaminated person to a water source ASAP!! Rinse the area thouroughly with water, minimum of 15 minutes for acids and 30 minutes. Determine if a 911 call is necessary; if unsure, call 911! Report to ANF staff as soon as possible. Here is a video showing what to do. And another good video for large spill on body.
- If the spill/splash involved a solution containing hydrofluoric acid, after rinsing for a minimum of 15 minutes generously apply the calcium gluconate gel to the affected area and go to the hospital (just across the street on Wesbrook Mall). There is a tube of gel in the ziplok on wetbench and a second tube in the first aid kit.
- Spill in eyes. Bring the injured body to the eyewash station promptly. If she/he wears contacts they must be removed asap otherwise the water will not rinse the contaminant from the eyes. Keep rinsing for at least 15 minutes for acid splash (same for solvent splash) and 30 minutes for basic (alkaline) splash. Call 911 and get ambulance to carry person to hospital. Report the incident to ANF staff.
Workplace safety resources:
The BUDDY system
Dangerous processes can only be performed under the “BUDDY SYSTEM”. A “BUDDY” is:
- Someone PHYSICALLY present in the PHOTOLITHOGRAPHY room
- Someone who knows enough to assist you in case of an accident (walk you to the eyewash/shower station, rinse your contaminated gloves before you touch other things, call for help)
- The buddy can only leave the photolithography room, but never the cleanrooms, for extremely brief periods, such as going to get supplies (eg beakers, tweezers, wipes) in one of the other rooms.
- The buddy must not leave before all dangerous chemicals have been safely disposed and/or put away in their safe storage spaces.
- You, and your buddy, must always wear the full protective equipment while you are handling dangerous chemicals: apron, acid (orange) gloves, safety glasses AND full facial protector.
- Under circumstances discussed with ANF personnel, the full facial protector may be removed for short periods while the chemicals are inside the wetbench with the glass door down and there is no possible splash danger to your face.
- You must reserve the wetbench (and spinner) on the bumblebee system.
- You must sign into the cleanroom to log your time usage.
- Users are not allowed to attempt fixing things if the equipment is not functioning normally. In the event of the slightest malfunction, you must notify ANF personnel immediately.
- Dangerous chemicals usage qualification is only valid for the process for which you have been qualified which will typically only cover a subset of the list above; any other process must be discussed with the ANF manager who will inform you of any additional precautions or who may add a shorter training/qualification session for the new process.