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Standard Operating Procedures

General Safety Rules:

Never work alone in a laboratory or chemical storage area.

Minimize all chemical exposures.

Appropriate eye protection should be worn at all times.

Skin contact with chemicals should be avoided.

Do not smell or taste chemicals.

Use protective safety equipment to reduce potential exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Do not run in the laboratory.

Avoid distracting or startling other workers. Horseplay should be avoided.

Prior approval should be obtained from the supervisor/instructor whenever a new laboratory procedure, test or experiment is carried out; or there is a change in an existing procedure, test or experiment.

All laboratory workers should know:

  1. the hazards of a chemical as stated in the MSDS and other appropriate references.
  2. the location and proper use of emergency equipment.
  3. how and where to properly store chemicals when not in use.
  4. the proper method for transporting chemicals within the department.
  5. the appropriate procedures for emergencies, including evacuation routes, spill cleanup procedures and proper waste disposal.

Personal Hygiene Guidelines:

Do not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or apply cosmetics in the laboratory.

Avoid inhalation of chemicals. Never sniff chemicals directly; always waft the odors to your nose using your hand.

Do not pipet by mouth. Use a pipet bulb or other appropriate device.

Wash promptly after a chemical has contacted the skin.

Wash hands and other areas of exposed skin before leaving the laboratory.

Do not store or handle food or beverages in laboratory areas (including refrigerators used for chemical storage).

Protective Clothing and Equipment:

Eye protection must be worn at all times. Eye protection should meet the requirements of ANSI Z87.1.

When working with hazardous chemicals, wear gloves made of material known to be resistant to permeation by that chemical. A table of Chemical Resistance of Common Glove Materials is attached to the CHP (Attachment 3). Inspect gloves before each use, wash them before removal and replace them periodically.

A laboratory coat or apron should be worn when working with hazardous chemicals.

Full foot coverage is required at all times.

Where the use of respirators is necessary to maintain exposure below PEL's, the Chemistry Department shall provide, at no cost to the employee, the proper respiratory equipment. Respirators shall be selected and used in accordance with the requirements of ANSI Z88.2 (Attachment 4).

Confine long hair and loose clothing.

Personal Housekeeping:

Keep work area clean and uncluttered.

Properly label and store all chemicals and equipment. All chemicals (including solutions and chemicals transferred from their original containers) should be labeled with their names, concentrations and hazards.

Clean up work area on completion of work or at the end of the day. Do not block access to emergency equipment or exits.

All chemicals and wastes should be placed in their proper storage area at the end of the day.

All working surfaces and floors should be cleaned regularly.


Do not use broken, chipped, starred or cracked glassware.

Clean all glassware after use.

Do not pick up broken glassware with bare hands. Use gloves or sweep it up. Deposit broken glass in a special "Broken Glass" box for disposal.

Handle hot glassware with proper size and type of tongs or hot mitts.


Syringes are intended for dispensing reactive and/or hazardous chemicals that cannot be safely handled in any other manner. Syringes and needles will be stored in a central, secure location and will be issued to departmental faculty, staff, and students as needed by the Chemical Hygiene Officer. Following use, syringes are to be placed intact in a puncture-resistant, leak-proof container specified for sharps disposal.

Vacuum/Pressure Equipment:

Use a safety shield whenever an implosion might occur.

Shield or wrap Dewar flasks or other evacuated glass apparatus in case implosion occurs.

Relieve vacuum in all parts of system before opening apparatus. Relieve vacuum slowly. Avoid sudden pressure changes that could cause breakage or spattering of contents. Do not relieve vacuum on heated apparatus until apparatus has cooled.

Use steam or heating mantles to heat vacuum distillation flasks.

Do not apply pressure to glassware.

Compressed Gases:

Prior to delivery to the site of use, all compressed gas cylinders will be kept in a locked tank storage facility where cylinders will be secured upright.

Store and transport compressed gas cylinders with the safety caps on.

Transport large cylinders on a hand truck to which the cylinder is secured.

Cylinders should be securely clamped to a firm support with an appropriate cylinder clamp or chains.

Always use a reducing valve.

Never lubricate, modify or tamper with a cylinder valve.

Do not heat cylinders or store near a heat source.

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