Chapter 8: Writing Standard Operating Procedures

The OSHA/MIOSHA Laboratory Standard requires that written SOPs are developed for all laboratory work that involves hazardous chemicals or physical hazards. SOPs are written documents that provide step by step instructions for completing laboratory procedures. A well- written SOP will also include information about potential hazards associated with the procedure and how the risks associated with these hazards will be mitigated. For this reason, a hazard analysis is the first step in developing an effective SOP (see section 2.1 ). Laboratory-specific SOPs must be prepared by laboratory personnel who are knowledgeable and involved with the experimental process/or procedure. The laboratory supervisor/PI is ultimately responsible for approving SOPs regardless of who prepares them. Laboratory-specific SOPs for laboratory work involving hazardous chemicals and physical hazards will comprise Chapter 9 of the laboratory’s CHP. These SOPs must be followed without deviation by faculty, staff, and students working in the laboratory.

A template for developing laboratory-specific SOPs is provided below. Note: Some laboratory equipment may present special hazards that will require a written SOP to assure safety. A similar approach for developing equipment SOPs may be followed though outside the requirements of the CHP.

In addition to promoting safety and helping ensure consistent experimental results, SOPs can also be used as a tool for instruction and training in the laboratory. As a standardized document, a written SOP can be used to effectively communicate the risks associated with research in the laboratory, helping to ensure that one person is not over-trained while another is under-trained. A written SOP also provides for continuity in laboratory training, making sure that instructions are not distorted or weakened over time and by staff turn-over. SOPs should be updated as necessary and as part of the CHP should be included in annual lab-specific CHP training/retraining.

8.1 Standard Operating Procedure template:

A standard Operating Procedure is shown below. This template can be downloaded as a word document.

Standard Operating Procedure (Form to be used)

Name of Procedure: (Identify the intended scope of the SOP here) ____________________________

Lab Location _____________________________________

1. Type of SOP: (Select what the SOP addresses)
Procedural _____  Hazardous Material_______  Equipment Specific_______  Other_______

Prepared by:__________________  Date Established___________  Revision date: ____________

2. Prior Approval Required: This procedure is considered hazardous enough to warrant prior approval from the laboratory supervisor. Yes_____  No_____

Supervisor Signature______________________

3. Hazards- The following materials and equipment associated with this procedure present exposure or physical health hazards and must be mitigated:
Write here the nature of the hazards, be they chemical, physical, equipment, electrical, lasers, ect.

4. Engineering Controls- Prior to performing this procedure, the following safety equipment must be accessible and ready for use:
(ex. Chemical fume hoods, laminar flow hood, chemical spill kits) Describe the procedure that would ensure proper operation and efficacy.

5. Protective Equipment-Prior to performing this procedure, the following personal protective equipment must be obtained and ready for use:
(ex. Acid resistant gloves, safety eyewear, lab coat, chemical splash apron) 

6. Storage and Handling Requirements – describe any specific storage or handling requirements of any hazardous chemicals: 
State the precise methods of storage and handling issues that are pertinent to this procedure. 

7. Waste disposal- List the wastes products that will be generated, how they will be collected, and how the container will be labeled.
What waste products are likely to be produced with this procedure and how will they be disposed? 

8. Accidental Spill- In the event that a hazardous material used in this procedure are spilled, be prepared to execute the following emergency procedure:
What method will be employed if any of the chemicals used in this procedure are spilled during use or during transport? 

9. Procedure: List the step-by-step procedure, including any specific safety steps:
Provide an exact description of the procedure that you will be conducting.

10. Certification- I have read and understood the above SOP. I agree to contact my Supervisor if I plan to modify this procedure.`

Signature _______________ Name (print)
Supervisor Signature_____________________ Name (print)_________________

Date_________________________  Room_________________________ 

Glossary of Terms