General Operating Procedures


General Rules

  • Wear appropriate eye protection. The appropriate protection will be defined by the Laboratory Supervisor, Chemical Hygiene Officer or the specific Standard Operating Procedure.
  • When working with flammable chemicals, be certain that there are no sources of ignition near enough to cause a fire or explosion in the event of a vapor release or liquid spill.
  • Use a tip resistant shield for protection whenever an explosion or implosion might occur.
  • For the chemicals being used, all faculty, students and staff should know and constantly be aware of:
    • Chemical hazards, as determined from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and other appropriate references. Obtain them from the Chemical Hygiene Officer or your Laboratory Supervisor.
      Appropriate safety procedures for using that chemical.
    • Location and proper use of emergency equipment.
      How and where to properly store the chemical when it is not in use.
    • Proper personal hygiene practices.
      Appropriate procedures for emergencies, including evacuation routes, spill clean-up procedures and proper waste disposal.


Personal Hygiene

  • Wash promptly and thoroughly whenever a chemical has contacted the skin.
  • Avoid inhalation of chemicals; do not "SNIFF" to test chemicals.
    Do not mouth pipet; use pipetting bulbs.
    Wash well with soap and water before leaving the laboratory; do not wash with solvents.
  • Do not drink, eat, or apply cosmetics in the laboratory.
  • Do not bring or store food or beverages in laboratory areas including refrigerators.


Protective Clothing and Equipment

  • The laboratory supervisor will advise when goggles or glasses are appropriate. Contact lenses should not be worn without notifying the supervisor and obtaining permission.
  • Appropriate gloves are available in all laboratories and should be worn when working with chemicals.
  • Lab coats are available to be worn when necessary and must be worn when working with hazardous chemicals.
  • Work in a fume hood whenever exposure by inhalation is likely to exceed the threshold limits described in MSDSs.
  • Carefully inspect all protective equipment before using. Do not use defective protective equipment.



  • Never block access to emergency equipment, showers, eyewashes, and exits.
  • When transferring chemicals to unmarked containers, label the container with the English name of the contents (not the chemical formula) and the hazards the contents present to users. Do not remove or deface labels of bottles in use.
  • Keep all work areas, especially laboratory benches, free of clutter.
  • Do not store chemicals in aisles, hallways, or stairwells.
  • Return all chemicals to their assigned storage areas at the end of each workday.
  • Properly label and keep wastes in their appropriate containers. Labeling Procedures.
  • Promptly clean up all spills; properly dispose of chemical and cleanup materials. Emergency Spill and Cleanup Procedures


Spills and Accidents

Spills of toxic substances or accidents involving any hazardous chemicals should be resolved immediately according to the Science Center emergency procedure plan. Emergency Procedures

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