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Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Written SOPs for any particularly hazardous substance (PHS) or procedure that poses a unique health risk must be developed and made available for all lab members.  The SOP describes how your lab will handle a hazardous material safely, including the amount and concentration of material you will use, how you obtain or create the working solution, special handling procedures, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and waste disposal considerations.  The SOP must be read and signatures documented by all personnel who may be exposed to the hazardous situation. 

Please contact the Laboratory Safety Officer to request an additional SOP template for a specific chemical or procedure.


A Particularly Hazardous Substance (PHS) is defined as a select carcinogen, reproductive toxin, pyrophoric, water reactive, or acutely hazardous material.  A list of Common Particularly Hazardous Substances is provided as a reference.  For your convenience, SOP templates for some commonly used hazardous chemicals and a General SOP template are available below.  The templates must be completed by the lab PI/Supervisor to include lab specific information, actual procedures used, and must be read and signed by the lab personnel.  The SOP is used as documentation of lab specific training and should be available for review during lab inspections.


High risk procedures are lab procedures which are likely to require engineering controls beyond those found in the standard laboratory.  These include the use of chemicals or toxins which require medical surveillance, vaccination, special antidotes, or exposure monitoring, and operations that pose significant risk of fire, explosion, or exposure to personnel if a malfunction were to occur (utility outage, runaway reaction, broken container, or chemical spill).  Contact the Safety and Risk Management Office (828-227-7443) if you have questions regarding High Risk Procedures or if you need to obtain permission for any of the following procedures:

  • Large quantities of liquid nitrogen or other cryogens which could deplete oxygen in the air. Large quantities would be more than one freezer and one attached Dewar per room, filling a cryocart or cooler, or liquid nitrogen (or other cryogen) piped in from a tank located outside the building.
  • Heat concentrated perchloric acid (requires a perchloric acid approved fume hood).
  • Use pyrophoric gases or other reactive Particularly Hazardous Substances (PHS).
  • Use hydrofluoric acid or other chemicals for which an antidote or specific first-aid treatment is required.
  • Use formaldehyde at the level which may require exposure monitoring or respirator use.
  • Create or synthesize nanomaterials.
  • Use botulinum toxin, tetanus toxin, or other toxins for which vaccination is recommended.
  • Perform a procedure or use other equipment that is likely to require engineering controls beyond those found in the standard laboratory.


The General SOP template can be used for a procedure involving hazardous chemicals or equipment that warrants special safety considerations.

Chemical Specific SOPs:
1,2-dichloroethane template
1,4-dioxane template
2-chloroethanol template
Acetaldehyde template
Acetyl chloride template
Arsenic template
Benzene template
Chloroform template
Dichloromethane (methylene chloride) template
Diethyl ether template
Diethyl zinc template
Formaldehyde template
Furan template
Hydrofluoric Acid template
Phenol template
Sodium amide template
Sodium borohydride template
Tetrahydrofuran template


For work involving infectious agents, a BSL-2 SOP template is available to document precautions and personnel training.

For work involving infectious agents with vertebrate animals, an ABSL-2 SOP template is available.

To document safety procedures and training for autoclave sterilization, an Autoclave SOP template is available.

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