EHSO Home Page
Environmental Health and Safety Office   
Standard Operating Procedures
Criteria for Implementation of Chemical Control Measures
Management of Chemical Fume Hoods & Other Protective Equipment
Employee Information & Training
Required Approvals
Medical Consultation & Examination
Additional Employee Protection for Work w/Particularly Hazardous Substances
Record Keeping, Review & Update of the Research Laboratory Safety Plan
Poisonous Gases
Shock Sensitive Chemical
Pyrophoric Chemicals
Peroxide-Forming Chemicals
Carcinogens, Reproductive Toxins or Highly Toxic Chemicals
Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals In Laboratories (29 CFR 1910.1450)
Limits to Exposure to Toxic & Hazardous Substances
Other Standards & Guidelines
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory
U of M Safety Procedures
Laboratory Audit Checklist
Selected SOPs
SOP Template
Workers Compensation Accident/Injury Reporting Policy & Forms
Duties of a Departmental Research Safety Officer
Environmental Health & Safety Office  Phone Numbers
Accident Investigation Worksheet
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Fact Sheet
Audit Report Template

Standard Operating Procedures

As noted in Chapter 1, Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring there are written standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the research protocols conducted in their area.  The SOPs must identify the hazards of the protocol, as well as measures to be taken to mitigate those hazards.  The references listed below may provide enough detail to serve as the SOPs for some research protocols.  Other protocols may require more tailoring, as described in Section 5 of this chapter.
  1. Chemical Procedures
  2. Biohazardous Procedures
  3. Radioactive Procedures
  4. General Safety Procedures
  5. Laboratory-Specific Standard Operating Procedures
  6. General Emergency Procedures
  7. Planning For Shutdowns

1. Chemical Procedures

A. Prudent Practices in the Laboratory (Appendix D)

Laboratory standard operating procedures found in Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals (National Research Council, 1995) are adopted for general use at the University of Minnesota. Departmental Research Safety Officers have hard copies of this text, and the entire contents are accessible on the web.  Note especially the following topics which are covered in Chapters 5 and 6 of Prudent Practices

Chapter 5 (Working with Chemicals)
Chapter 6(Working with Laboratory Equipment)

B.  Controlled Substances and Alcohol

In conducting research with controlled substances, University authorized employees must comply with federal and state laws and regulations regarding their uses, including registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), storage requirements, inventory maintenance and substance disposal.  A condensed guide to federal regulations as well as policies and forms pertaining to controlled substances are available on the Controlled Substances webpage.

Alcohol used for education, scientific research, or medicinal purposes can be purchased tax-free through University Stores (, which holds the University of Minnesota site license for alcohol purchases with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF).  Further information and links to the ordering form are available by clicking on Tax Free Alcohol Ordering Procedures.

C.  The American Chemical Society's "Safety in Academic Chemistry

ACS’s "Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories" is another useful text which presents information similar to that found in Prudent Practices, but in a considerably condensed format.

D.  Hazardous Waste Management

Extensive and detailed policies regarding hazardous waste management are specified in the UMD Hazardous "Hazardous Chemical Waste Management, Guidebook”. Please refer to this text for approved waste handling procedures.

E.   Emergency Procedures for Chemical Spills

The procedures listed below are intended as a resource for your department in preparing for emergencies before they happen.  If you are currently experiencing an emergency such as a chemical spill, please follow the procedure below, or contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 218-726-7273.

Complete spill response procedures are described in the UMD Emergency Response Desk Reference Guide (   However, a quick reference guide is included below for convenience.

Quick Reference Guide


  • Leave the spill area; alert others in the area and direct/assist them in leaving.

  • Without endangering yourself: remove victims to fresh air, remove contaminated clothing and flush contaminated skin and eyes with water for 15 minutes.  If anyone has been injured or experiencing difficulties due to exposure to toxic chemicals or chemical vapors, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.


  • Close doors and isolate the area. Prevent people from re-entering spill area.


  • From a safe place, call Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO) 218 726-7273 during working hours, 911 after hours (The 911 operators will put you in contact with the on call UMD Police officer who will assist in directing your call to appropriate emergency response personnel).  For more info on emergency response please consult our contingency plan at:

  • Report that this is an emergency and give your name, phone and location; location of the spill; the name and amount of material spilled; extent of injuries; safest route to the spill.

  • Stay by the phone, EHSO staff will advise you as soon as possible.

  • EHSO with assistance from the Fire Department will clean up or stabilize spills, which are considered high hazard (fire, health or reactivity hazard).  In the case of a small spill and low hazard situation, EHS will advise you on what precautions and protective equipment to use.


  • Until emergency response personnel arrive: block off the areas leading to the spill, lock doors, post signs and warning tape, and alert others of the spill.
  • Post staff by commonly used entrances to the area to direct people to use other routes.

After an accident, supervisor(s) must complete and fax in reporting forms within 8 business hours. Workers' Compensation policy and reporting forms are available on the web (Appendix J).

2. Biohazardous Procedures

All UMD researchers working with human blood or body fluids, or other pathogens must follow the university’s Exposure Control Plan, and complete the Boodborne Pathogens Training, available on the web at  All researchers working with infectious material including attenuated lab & vaccine strains (bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, prions), biologically-derived toxins, rDNA, and artificial gene transfer must follow requirements of the University’s Biosafety Program detailed in the Biosafety Manual and on the Institutional Biosafety Committee’s website.

A.  Biosafety Manual


The University’s Biosafety Manual is made up of three components; researchers must implement all three components in their lab safety manual.

  • Individual lab-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that:
  1. specify the biohazards being used
  2. identify the material handling steps that may pose a risk of exposure (sharps, injecting animals, centrifugation, aerosol production, transport, etc.)
  3. describe equipment and techniques used to reduce the above risk of exposure
  4. give instructions for what to do in case of an accidental exposure/spill
  5. list wastes that will be generated and how to properly dispose of wastes

B. Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

The IBC is charged under Federal Regulations (NIH) and University of Minnesota Regents Policy with the oversight of all teaching and research activities involving:

Recombinant DNA

Artificial gene transfer

Infectious agents including attenuated lab & vaccine strains

Biologically derived toxins

See the IBC web site for procedures to apply for approval for the above work.

C. Select Agents

Labs in possession of organisms or toxins that are federally designated as select agents are required to be registered with the Centers For Disease Control if quantities exceed the exemption amounts. See the Biosafety Section of the DEHS web site for a list of select agents, exemption quantities, and procedures for their use.

D. Additional Biosafety References

World Health Organization (WHO) Laboratory Safety Manual, available on the web at,

National Research Council’s text Biosafety in the Laboratory: Prudent Practices for Handling and Disposal of Infectious Materials (1989), available on the web at

Biological Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available at

3. Radioactive Procedure

All researchers using radioactive materials at the University of Minnesota Duluth must
  • contact the Radiation Protection Division;
  • obtain a permit for the possession and use of radioactive materials;
  • complete required training modules
  • comply with the radiation policies and procedures of the university (contained in the UMD Radiation Protection website).
The UMD Radiation Protection Website contains information on a number of topics including license committees, the permitting process, purchasing procedures, transfer procedures, general safety, personnel dosimetry, waste management, emergency management (spill control), record keeping, and regulatory guides such as declared pregnancy workers and risks from ionizing radiation>

Initial training is required for all personnel who are authorized to access radiation areas. Training material/modules can be viewed through the UMD EHSO website  After viewing the training modules, users must fill out a questionnaire and then receive specific, on-site training required by permit holder (trainer).

4.  General Safety Procedures

Other policies and procedures that ensure safe practices in the University of Minnesota laboratories are accessible in Appendix E

Laboratory and General Safety

  • Controlled Substances
  • Emergency Eyewash and Safety Shower Installation and Maintenance
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Extension Cords in University Buildings
  • Eye Protection/Personal Protective Equipment
  • Flammable and Combustible Liquid Quantities in U of M Laboratories
  • Foot Protection/Safety-Toe Shoes
  • Greenhouse Policy-Fumigation/Smoke Generation Procedure
  • Decorations
  • Labeling Chemicals
  • Lock Out/Tag Out
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers-Type and Placement
  • Public Corridors
  • UMD Respiratory Protection Program
  • Step Ladders-Care and Use
  • Termination of Laboratory Use of Hazardous Materials
  • Temperature Standard
  • UMD Campus Smoke-Free Policy
  • UMD Indoor Air Quality
  • Working with PCBs

Fire Safety 
  • Flammable and Combustible Liquid Quantities in U of M Laboratories
  • Fire Safety at the University
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers-Type and Placement

5.  Laboratory-Specific Standard Operating Procedures

Each PI must have written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the research protocols conducted in his or her laboratory. Like the Lab Safety Plan, the SOPs must be accessible to researchers. Keeping hard copies in the lab or having them on a computer in the laboratory fulfills the accessibility requirement. SOPs developed through the UMD EHSO will be posted periodically in Appendix H

Laboratory-specific SOPs are valuable research tools that supplement the departmental Laboratory Safety Plan. The process of writing SOPs requires an individual to think through all steps of a procedure and perform a risk assessment before beginning work. The SOP provides a written means to inform and advise researchers about hazards in their work place, allows for standardization of materials and methods, and improves the quality of the research. A well-written SOP can be used to comply with the federal Laboratory Safety Standard, which states that the Laboratory Safety Plan must include:

"standard operating procedures relevant to safety and health considerations to be followed when laboratory work involves the use of hazardous chemicals."

SOPs should include exposure controls and safety precautions that address both routine and accidental chemical, physical or biological hazards associated with the procedure. A laboratory safety information sheet is available in Appendix F   This checklist, which prompts researchers to identify hazards and safety measures for the protocol, can be attached to existing procedures which may lack safety information.  A template for writing new SOPs and guidance for writing biologically-related SOPs are available in Appendix I.

6. General Emergency Procedures

The procedures listed below are intended as a resource for your department in preparing for emergencies before they happen.  If you are currently experiencing an emergency such as a chemical spill, please follow the procedures described in the Campus Emergency Information Desk Reference (, and/or contact the UMD Environmental Health and Safety Office at 218-726-7273.

For University employees, who have been exposed to blood borne or other infectious pathogens, please follow the procedure found in Needle Sticks

First Aid for Laboratory and Research Staff (

For guidance on Workplace Violence, consult

For all other emergencies call 911.

7. Planning for Shutdowns

Researchers should develop written procedures to deal with events such as loss of electrical power (affecting fume hoods, coolers etc.) or other utilities (water), or temporary loss of personnel due to illnesses such as pandemic flu.  Guidance on factors to consider when developing shut-down plans is included in the Lab Hibernation Checklist in Appendix P.

Your Comments
Top of Page.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.