Certain agents and processes present extreme hazards. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be written for these agents and processes instead of filling out a Chemical Use and Planning Form.  A hazard assessment must be completed in order to properly develop an SOP. Below is information about some high-hazard agents and processes, links to additional information on the hazards, and control measures to reduce your risks.

Example SOPs on this page are meant to be guidelines to help you write your own SOP. When writing an SOP for your lab, it must be specific to the work being done and include procedural details. It will not suffice to simply copy an SOP from another lab or institution.

Chemicals/Procedures Requiring SOPs

**This is not an exhaustive list of all chemicals that may need an SOP.**

Super Acids

Severe Toxicity

Diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP)
Hydrofluoric acid (Operating Guide (PDF))

Other Specific Hazardous Materials

  • Cyanides
  • Hydrogen peroxide (of 35% concentration or greater)
  • Paraformaldehyde
  • Pyrophoric reagents
  • Select Agents

Other Specific Hazardous Processes

  • Calorimeters
  • Demonstrations (may need to include crowd control and transportation of hazardous materials)

If you suspect exposures to any of these chemicals above the OSHA Action Levels (in parentheses), a written SOP is required. Contact Risk Management & Safety, safety@uvm.edu, for assistance.

OSHA-Specific Chemical Standards

1,3-butadiene (0.5 ppm)1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (1 ppb)
Asbestos (1 f/cc)Acrylonitrile (1 ppm)
Benzene (5 ppm)Cadmium (2.5 ug/m3)
Chromium VI (2.5 ug/m3)Coke oven emissions (130 ug/m3)
Cotton dust (100, 250, or 375 ug/m3)Ethylene oxide (0.5 ppm)
Formaldehyde (0.5 ppm)Inorganic arsenic (5 ug/m3)
Lead (30 ug/cm3)Methylene chloride (12.5 ppm)
Methylenedianiline (5 ppb)Vinyl chloride (0.5 ppm)


SOP Guidelines

Particular information and sections are required in every SOP. The following are to be included in an SOP:

  • Composition
  • Potential Hazards
  • Engineering Controls (designated workspace?)
  • Special Handling Procedures
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Storage Requirements
  • Spill/Accident Procedures
  • Waste Disposal
  • Decontamination
  • Training Requirements
  • Procedure (both general and specific)
  • "What if" analysis (what could go wrong)
  • Sign off that each researcher has been trained with the specific procedure

The order of these sections within an SOP can be adjusted, and others may be necessary depending on the chemical or process. Download the SOP template to be used when generating a specific SOP for your laboratory.

*Every SOP needs to be reviewed with new researchers, annually, AND before making any changes (e.g. scaling up the reaction).*