Standard Operating Procedures for Chemical Safety

The OSHA Lab Standard identifies eight “elements” that must be included in a Chemical Hygiene Plan. The first of these is Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) “relevant to safety and health considerations to be followed when laboratory work involves the use of hazardous chemicals.” [29 CFR 1910.1450 (e)(3)(i)] This is especially important if your lab operations include the routine use of particularly hazardous substances, i.e., “select carcinogens,” reproductive toxins, and substances which have a high degree of acute toxicity. [29 CFR1910.1450 (e)(3)(viii)]

The idea of Standard Operating Procedures is certainly not new and is a mandatory item in industry and private research. However, the academic world has been slow to embrace this requirement. Each lab needs to have Standard Operating Procedures that are clear, consist, and useful to lab personnel for training and safety purposes.

SOP’s may be developed according to a process or procedure, to classes of hazardous chemicals, individual hazardous chemicals, or any other reasonable approach that address health and safety concerns of an experimental protocol.

SOP’s need to be tailored for the specific processes of the specific lab. However there are some basic SOP’s that are generally applicable to all labs. A list of these basic standard operating procedures is provided below. EHS is currently preparing draft examples of these SOP, which can be modified to fit the specific laboratory.

As more SOP’s are developed, they will be posted within this site. If you have written one which you would like to share, or if you have questions, or need assistance in the preparation of an SOP, please e-mail Jerry Steward, or call 578-4314.