A student and staff members have been taken to hospital as a precaution after a gas leak at the University of Canterbury this evening.

Emergency services were called to the university's biology department about 6.30pm after reports of a large chemical spill.

A university spokesperson said the incident occurred in a laboratory in the School of Biological Sciences building at the Ilam campus.

"The Biological Sciences building was evacuated," the spokesperson said.


"The student and staff members were assessed at Christchurch Hospital as a precautionary measure and are expected to return home this evening.

"Fire and Emergency services assessed the building as safe and have reopened it for use."

Earlier, a St John spokesman said two staff members were taken to Christchurch Hospital in a moderate condition.

Fire and Emergency said they initially sent three engines, but later upgraded their response.

They isolated the area and Hazmat was attempting to identify the chemical.