Specific Procedures for Toxic Materials

The MSDS's for many of the chemicals used in the laboratory will state recommended limits or OSHA mandated limits, or both, as guidelines for exposure. Typical limits are threshold limit values (TLV), permissible exposure limits (PEL), and action levels. When such limits are stated, they will be used to assist the chemical hygiene officer and laboratory supervisor in determining the safety precautions, control measures, and safety apparel that apply when working with toxic chemicals. In addition to the general rules that follow, there is a group of chemicals (a complete list is available in the stockroom) that mandate specific requirements for handling and use. Acrylamide, formaldehyde, benzene, and chloroform are on this list and anyone in the Science Center using these materials must read and comply with these SOP's.

 Procedures for Toxic Materials

  • All volatile toxic chemicals should be used in an operating fume hood, glove box, vacuum line, or similar device, which is equipped with appropriate traps. If none are available no work should be performed using that chemical.

Procedures for Flammable Chemicals

  • Flammable substances should be handled only in areas free of ignition sources.
  • Flammable substances should never be heated by using an open flame. Preferred heat sources include steambaths, water baths, oil baths, and heating mantles.
  • Ventilation is one of the most effective ways to prevent the formation of flammable mixtures. An exhaust hood should be used whenever appreciable quantities of flammable substances are to stand in open containers, heated in the opened containers, or handled in any way.

Procedures for Reactive Chemicals

Reactive chemicals must be segregated in storage and should be handled observing all proper safety precautions. Students who plan to mix reactive chemicals with other chemicals (even small quantities) should obtain the prior approval of the lab instructor and wear appropriate personal protection.

Procedures for Corrosive Chemicals

When working with significant quantities of corrosive chemicals, use all proper safety precautions. Wear both safety goggles and faceshields, gloves which have been tested for absence of pin penetration, and a laboratory apron or laboratory coat.


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