Pro-Broken Lamp Clean Up

procedure broken lamp clean up modified Mon Jul 27 2020 13:08:03 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

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University of Louisville

OFFICIAL
UNIVERSITY
ADMINISTRATIVE
PROCEDURE

PROCEDURE NAME

Broken Lamp Clean Up

EFFECTIVE DATE

PROCEDURE APPLICABILITY

This procedure applies to the University Community (administrators, faculty, staff, and students).

REASON FOR PROCEDURE

Protect human health and the environment.   Mercury, even in small amounts can be toxic to human health and the environment.   Contaminated debris generated from the cleanup of a broken lamp, could contain mercury above the EPA regulatory maximum contaminant level (MCL). The MCL for mercury is 0.2 mg/L.

PROCEDURE STATEMENT

Fluorescent, high intensity discharge (HID), and ultra-violet (UV) lights contain low levels of mercury (average 5 mg).   Mercury is not released during normal use.  However, upon breakage, the vapor is immediately released. This guideline follows EPA established recommendations which minimize personnel exposure to mercury vapor and should pose no additional harm or  consequences to personnel collecting debris from a broken mercury-containing light.  Incandescent, halogen, and LED lamps do not contain mercury.

Step 1:   Evacuate immediate area for 15 minutes

The highest potential mercury vapor exposure from damaged bulbs occurs immediately after breakage. The most effective way to protect yourself and room occupants from vapor exposure is to ventilate the room with outside air (if possible) and keep people out of the room for at least 15 minutes after breakage while airborne concentrations decrease.

Step 2: Gather clean up materials

Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb:  

  • rubber gloves
  • safety glasses
  • stiff paper or cardboard
  • sticky tape
  • paper towels or newspaper 
  • sealable plastic bag or heavyweight  trash bag 

Special note: DO NOT USE VACUUM! Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken.  Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor. DEHS does have a marked designated vacuum cleaner for broken lamp clean up that PP personnel can borrow, contact DEHS Hazardous Waste at 502-852-2956.

Step 3:   Put on personal protection equipment

To include at a minimum, safety glasses or goggles and nitrile or rubber gloves.

Step 4:   Debris collection

  • Carefully pick up large pieces of the lamp.  Place pieces onto paper towel or newspaper.
  • For collecting small glass fragments and shards, use sticky tape
  • Place all glass shards and used tape on paper.
  • If the debris is on a hard surface, wipe with damp paper towels.  
  • Place used towels on top of the paper. 
  • Carefully fold everything into the paper, and place it in a plastic bag. 
  • Discard used gloves into plastic bag.

Step 5:   Secure waste bag and label and date; submit for DEHS hazardous waste pick up

  • Securely close the plastic bag.
  • Label  and date the outside of the plastic bag with the words
    (FOR EXAMPLE as follows) - “Hazardous Waste Broken Mercury Lamp/debris 06/10/16"
  • Drop off closed marked bag to DEHS EPSC (call or email ahead) or submit pick up request via the DEHS chemical and hazardous waste pick up form.
RELATED INFORMATION

40 CFR 261.24

ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations

RESPONSIBLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT/DIVISION

Environmental Health & Safety
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
502-852-6670
dehsubm@louisville.edu

HISTORY

Revision Date(s):  September 2016

Reviewed Date(s): September 2016

The University Policy and Procedure Library is updated regularly. In order to ensure a printed copy of this document is current, please access it online at http://louisville.edu/policies.