Chemical Safety

Laboratory work often involves the use of hazardous chemicals.  Before using a chemical, lab workers must become informed about chemical hazards in addition to their safe handling, storage, and disposal.  Information about chemical hazards can be found below.


Chemical Hazards

Planning for Chemical Use

The key to using chemicals safely is to carefully plan your work.  Planning for chemical use includes:

  • getting the proper training so you understand the hazard of the chemical,
  • preparing yourself with all the necessary safety precautions,
  • developing and documenting a safe working procedure, and
  • learning the proper waste disposal procedures for any waste you might generate.

Laboratory situations which present unusual chemical hazards may require more specific planning, for example:

  • Working alone in a laboratory
  • Allowing laboratory operations to proceed unattended
  • Use of high toxic chemicals as defined by OSHA


Chemical Use Planning Form

There are many factors to take into account when deciding how to safely work with a hazardous chemical. The Chemical Use Planning Form (CUPF) is one tool available to help lab supervisors and lab safety officers organize and communicate this information to people who will be handling hazardous chemicals.  

The CUPF is required to be filled out for either a single chemical or a group of chemicals with similar hazards. The groups can be found on the Hazardous Chemicals of Concern List attached to the CUPF (pages 3-6).  If a chemical is not included in this list, it is up to the laboratory supervisor to develop an individual Chemical Use Planning Form for the material.

Standard Operating Procedures

The CUPF documents how a hazardous chemical is to be safely used and handled in the lab.  If an assessment determines that the chemical is a high hazard, a laboratory-specific Standard Operating Procedure may be required. The Chemical Use Planning Form serves as a record of specific recommendations for using these chemicals in particular situations and should be used as a tool for training new employees in the safe use of chemicals in your laboratory and your laboratory procedures.