Standard Operating Procedures

An important component of a Chemical Hygiene Plan is the creation and use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for hazardous chemicals. These describe the hazards of a chemical, as well as guidelines for selection and purchase, storage and transportation, engineering controls, work practice controls, and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

OSHA mandates that SOPs be established and utilized for several classes of hazardous chemicals in the laboratory, and that the SOPs be available to all laboratory members at all times. In addition, all laboratory members should review and understand these SOPs before commencing work with these chemicals. A record of SOP training can be kept on the Laboratory-Specific Training Record. EHS will check for SOP and Laboratory-Specific Training compliance during yearly Laboratory Safety Surveys.

SMU EHS offers a set of standard chemical class SOPs. These can be used for some basic hazardous chemical procedures, but they most likely require customization. Laboratory managers can download these documents and add laboratory-specific chemicals and procedures on the 2nd page.

Compressed Gases


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If your work warrants more detailed SOPs, a few universities offer a wealth of resources relating to SOPs.  The Duke Occupational & Environmental Safety Office provides several SOPs for specific hazardous chemicals, including nitric acid, piranha solution, perchloric acid, bleach, chloroform, formalin, dichloromethane, acrylamide, and more.  The UCLA Environment, Health, and Safety Office also provides hundreds of chemical-specific customizable SOPs.