Standard Operating Procedures

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a written hazard analysis document detailing how to safely work with hazardous chemicals.

SOPs are required when the chemical or process you will be using has unique hazards not covered by the general chemical information in the MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan.

The complexity and detail of an SOP is dependent on the unique hazards of the proposed experiment. Some SOPs will require more information and collaboration with EHS to complete (including EHS signatures for approval); SOPs for common processes can be reviewed and completed in short order.

As an administrative control, SOPs allow Principal Investigators to ensure they are apprised of their employee's activities and take the opportunity to discuss safety in a structured format. SOPs should be included as part of a group's Site-Specific Training process. During safety inspections, EHS staff will ask to review SOPs for the lab.

The SOP Writing Process

SOP templates are provided below. If you are unsure if your proposed experiment or activity needs an SOP, please contact EHS at 517-355-0153 or for a consultation.

SOPs requiring EHS review and approval

If the SOP template has a signature line at the bottom for EHS, it will need to be reviewed and approved by EHS before implementing in the laboratory. Complete the template according to the directions, and submit to EHS for review at

Once approved, train lab employees on the SOP and keep the SOP on the premises where the experiment will take place. EHS inspectors will ask to see the SOP during routine safety inspections.

SOP Template List
Chemical or Process Template Additional Information
Acetylene Acetylene Gas (DOCX) Used in organic synthesis or gas chromatography
Air or Water Reactive Compounds Reactives (DOCX) Alkali metals, hydrides, permanganates, etc.
Aqua regia Acids (DOCX) Nitric acid + hydrochloric acid
Chemicals with specific MIOSHA regulations Toxic Chemicals (DOCX) MIOSHA Air Contaminants Standard 
Elemental Mercury N/A Not permitted; needs special approval
Fine metal powders Reactives (DOCX) For pyrophoric powders
Flammable gases Flammable gas (DOCX) Methane, ethylene oxide, etc.
Formaldehyde Toxic Chemicals (DOCX) Anatomy spaces, large volume of tissue preservation, 30% or greater concentration
Hydrofluoric acid Hydrofluoric Acid (DOCX) Glass cleaning, glass etching, etc.
Hydrogen Fluoride Releasers Hydrogen Fluoride Releaser (DOCX) Ammonium bifluoride, PMSF, trifluoroacetic acid, etc.
Hydrogen gas Hydrogen Gas (DOCX) For 100% hydrogen or flammable mixtures. Excludes toxic mixtures
Lead Toxic Chemicals (DOCX) For both elemental lead and lead compounds
MIOSHA Class 'A' Toxic Chemicals Toxic Chemicals (DOCX) MIOSHA Carcinogen Standard
Organic Mercury Organic Mercury (DOCX) Ethylmercury, methylmercury, etc.
Osmium tetroxide Osmium Tetroxide (DOCX) Typically used in electron microscopy
Parr reactors Parr Reactor (DOCX) For heated, pressurized reaction vessels
Parr reactor safety
ASME steam tables

Perchloric acid Perchloric Acid (DOCX) Strong oxidizer, often used in tissue digestion
Piranha solution Acids (DOCX) Sulfuric acid + hydrogen peroxide
Toxic gases Toxic Gas (DOCX) CO, silane, ammonia, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, ozone, etc. either in cylinders or generated during the experiment.

SOPs with optional EHS review and approval

These SOPs are required, but the EHS review and signature is optional. Complete the SOP template, train laboratory employees on it and keep on the premises where the activities will take place. EHS inspectors may ask to see a copy of these SOPs during routine safety inspections.

SOP Templates with Optional EHS signature List
Chemical or Process Template Additional Information
Hydrochloric acid glassware bath HCl Bath (DOCX) HCl only
Flammable solvent + corrosive bath for glassware Flammable + Corrosive Bath (DOCX) Excludes certain high-hazard acids
Hydrogen cylinder- single Hydrogen Cylinder (DOCX) When used in a GC apparatus