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Standard Operation Procedures

A copy of the "Laboratory Safety Rules" is to be given to each employee who is involved with any laboratory-based course or research project as part of the ISAT Safety Training Document. Students should receive an abbreviated version, appropriate for their particular lab course, as part of the course syllabus.


  1. Responsible behavior in the laboratory is essential. The dangers of spilled acids and other chemicals, as well as broken glassware created by thoughtless actions, are too great for irresponsible behavior to be tolerated.

  2. Perform no unauthorized experiments. Use only the quantities of reagents as instructed in written procedures, and no more. Consult your instructor if you have any doubts about the instructions in the laboratory manual or written procedure. 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. Also, when planning laboratory experiments or procedures involving chemicals, consult this plan to acquire information about specific hazardous substances used in ISAT laboratories. Additional information concerning all chemicals-as potential hazards, safety issues when handling and disposing of them, and steps to take in case of accidental release (e.g., spill, leak)-is contained in the computerized MSDS collection for ISAT. Knowledge of this type of information should be in hand BEFORE the experiment is started.

  3. Working alone in the laboratory is not permitted. At least one other person should be present in the same room, and an instructor should be readily available.

  4. Think about what you are doing in the laboratory. Plan ahead; do not "cookbook." If you give no thought to what you are doing, you predispose yourself to an accident.


  1. Wear approved eye protection - that which meets the requirements of ANSI Z87.1-at all times in all ISAT laboratories where and when chemicals are handled or there is a possibility of injury to the eyes because of ongoing laboratory procedures (e.g., from projectiles, from boiling water.)

    1. Eye protection should protect against impact and chemical splashes. Goggles, or other special eye protection, must be worn by those who already wear prescription glasses.

    2. If your eyes come into contact with an acid, alkali, abrasive or otherwise irritating substance, wash your eyes with flowing water from a sink or eyewash station for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention immediately.

  2. Footwear that completely covers the feet is required, because of the danger of broken glass and the possibility of chemical spills.

  3. A lab apron or coat must be worn

    • when you are wearing easily combustible clothing, such as synthetic and light fabrics

    • when working with and/or transporting hazardous chemicals

  4. Gloves should be worn when working with hazardous chemicals. These gloves should be made of material known to be resistant to permeation by that chemical. Inspect gloves before each use, wash them before removal, and replace them periodically.


  1. As part of the safety orientation to the lab, you will be shown the location of fire extinguishers, fire blankets, safety showers and fire alarms. In addition, you will be informed of the location of MSDS, and shown how to use them. All laboratory workers and students should know

    • the hazards of a chemical as stated in the MSDS and other appropriate references pertaining to that chemical

    • the location and proper use of emergency equipment

    • how and where to properly store chemicals when not in use

    • the proper method for transporting chemicals within the department

    • the appropriate procedures for emergencies, including evacuation routes, spill cleanup procedures and proper waste disposal

  2. In case of fire or accident, call the instructor at once. Be aware that wet towels can be used to smother small fires. Use any apparatus available to put out or contain a fire.

  3. In case of the chemical spill on your body or clothing, wash the affected area with large quantities of running water. Remove clothing that has been wet by chemicals to prevent further reaction with the skin.

  4. In case of accidental ingestion of a chemical, try to drink large volumes of water.

  5. Promptly clean all chemical spills and properly dispose of spilled chemical and cleanup material

  6. 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.

  7. Do not eat or drink anything, do not chew gum, do not smoke, and do not apply cosmetics in the laboratory. In addition, since many chemicals are absorbed through the skin, avoid direct skin contact. If you suspect skin contact with chemical substances, such as bottled reagents, wash off these substances with large quantities of water. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the laboratory. In addition, do not store or handle food or beverages in laboratory areas, including refrigerators used for chemical storage.

  8. Report all injuries to your instructor at once. Except for very superficial injuries, you will be required to get medical treatment for cuts, burns, or fume inhalation.

  9. Avoid deliberately and directly breathing fumes of any kind.

    1. To test the smell of a vapor, with your instructor's permission, collect some of the vapor in a cupped hand.

    2. Work in a chemical fume hood if there is the possibility that noxious or poisonous vapors may be produced.

  10. Do not use mouth suction to fill pipettes with water or chemical reagents, aqueous or organic. Always use a suction device provided.

  11. Confine long hair and loose clothing in the lab, since either can catch fire or be chemically contaminated.

  12. Keep your work area neat at all times. Clean up spills and broken glass immediately. Clutter not only will slow your work, but it leads to accidents. Clean your workspace, including wiping the surface and putting away all chemicals and equipment, at the end of the laboratory preparation, course laboratory period or student project session.

  13. Be careful when heating liquids; add boiling chips or beads to avoid "bumping." Flammable liquids such as ethers, hydrocarbons, alcohols, acetone, and carbon disulfide must not be heated over an open flame.

  14. Always carefully and slowly pour acids into water when mixing to avoid spattering.

  15. Do not force a rubber stopper onto glass tubing or thermometers. Lubricate the tubing and the stopper with glycerol or water. Use paper or cloth toweling to protect your hands. Grasp the glass close to the stopper.

  16. Dispose of excess liquid reagents by flushing small quantities down the sink. Discuss with the instructor about disposing of large quantities. Dispose of solids in approved containers. DO NOT RETURN REAGENTS TO THEIR ORIGINAL CONTAINERS.

  17. 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.

  18. Do not block access to emergency equipment or exits.

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

  20. All working surfaces and floors should be cleaned regularly.

  21. Laboratory doors leading to hallways are to be closed during any laboratory activity.

  22. Glassware:

    • 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 "Broken Glass Safety Toss Box."

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

  23. Vacuum and pressurizing equipment and materials:

    • Use a safety shield whenever an implosion might occur when working with vacuum equipment. Shield or wrap Dewar flasks or other evacuated glass apparatus.

    • Use steam or heating mantles to heat vacuum distillation flasks.

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

    • Use a safety shield whenever an explosion might occur when working with pressurizing equipment.

    • Do not apply pressure to glassware.

    • Vent pressure in all parts of the system before opening.

  24. Compressed gases:

    • 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 clamped securely to a wall or other firm support with an appropriate cylinder clamp or chains.

    • Always use a reducing valve with gas cylinders.

    • Do not lubricate, modify or tamper with a cylinder valve.

    • Do not heat cylinders or store them near a heat source.

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