Mercury Decontamination

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

​​​Purpose of this policy

Schools must follow strict clean up procedures after a mercury spill to avoid the danger of mercury poisoning.

Cleaning up mercury spills

The follow steps need to be undertaken immediately when cleaning up mercury spills.

Small spills

The following table outlines the steps to be taken to clean up a small spill.

StepAction

1

Clear the area of persons to prevent exposure.

2

Open all windows and close internal doors of the room for approximately 15 minutes before you attempt cleaning up.

Turn off heating and cooling units to prevent vapours from circulating.

3

Never use a vacuum cleaner or a broom to clean up the spill.

Take off any jewellery and put on gloves.

Shine a torch on the area to find the mercury droplets.

Use an eyedropper or syringe to pick up the droplets.

Sticky tape may be used for smaller droplets.

Place the droplets onto a piece of card.

Carefully place card into a strong plastic container with a lid.

If mercury was spilt over a sink the plumbing may need to be inspected.

4

Dispose of the plastic container and other items that have come into contact with the mercury such as the gloves, into a rubblish bag that can be placed into your landfill bin.

Ventilate the room for further 24 hours.

Do not wash contaminated clothes in your washing machine. It will contaminate the machine.

Large spills

The following table outlines the steps to be taken to clean up a large spill.

StepAction
​1

​Clear the area of persons to prevent exposure.

​2

​Open all windows and close internal doors of the room for approximately 15 minutes before you attempt cleaning up.

Turn off heating and cooling units to prevent vapors from circulating.

​3


 

​Large spills should be dealt with as a HAZMAT incident - dial 000 and ask for fire service.

Do not attempt to clean up the spill.

All incidents should be reported in eduSafe (Edumail password required) and WorkSafe is to be notified.

Related policies

Department resources

Other resources