Safe Work Practices
Laboratory standard operating procedures found in Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals (National Research Council, 2011) are adopted for general use at the University of Minnesota.
All chemicals in the laboratory are required to have a label that indicates chemical contents and hazard warnings. Chemicals purchased from a manufacturer will have labels from that manufacturer that meet the chemical labeling requirements. Labs are responsible for labeling chemicals that are transferred from manufacturer containers into a secondary container or chemicals that are synthesized in the lab. Review the Non-Manufacturer Container Labeling Fact Sheet for more information and resources.
Exemptions: Chemicals that will be used within one work shift and will not be unattended during the work period of their intended use.
Proper storage of hazardous chemicals is important in reducing the risks of spills or unwanted chemical reactions.
- Use sturdy shelving with ample space for every container.
- Chemical reagents should be stored on shelves or in cabinets or other storage locations. Work areas such as countertops and fume hoods should be kept clear for work.
- Do not store hazardous liquids above eye level. Storing glass containers and heavy materials on lower shelves is also recommended.
- Consult the SDS, label and hazard class SOPs for storage information based on hazard classes.
- Store flammable liquids in flammable cabinets, when not in use. Small amounts of flammable liquids may remain on bench tops. However, bottles smaller than one liter of flammable liquids, (per laboratory bench) can be left out when not is use.
- Corrosive chemicals (acids and bases) should be stored in corrosive cabinets when not in use.
Keep incompatible chemicals separate. Use your knowledge of chemical reactions to separate chemical stocks into compatible categories.
See the individual reagents SDS and review the transfer section of the applicable hazard class SOPs. Again new containers should be labeled with all essential information on the original container.
Examples of specific precautions:
- Grounding and bonding should be used to prevent static charge buildups when dispensing solvents.
- A fume hood or other ventilation source should be used when transferring even a small amount of a particularly hazardous substance (PHS).
All laboratories and research facilities using hazardous chemicals beyond incidental use must establish and maintain an accurate inventory of hazardous chemicals stored and used in the laboratory. Inventories must be updated at least once per year and whenever significant changes in chemical use occur.
UMN labs must use the chemical inventory module in Chematix, our safety management software, to track their inventory. Contact your Research Safety Partner with questions.