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School of Chemical Sciences

Safe methods of use (SMOU)

These protocols have been developed to ensure the safety of staff and students when working in the lab, with chemicals and using blast shields.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS or MSDS) provide useful information about the likely hazardous properties of handling chemicals. All laboratory personnel must consult Safety Data Sheets when using a chemical for the first time or when they are unfamiliar with its hazardous properties.

Please Note:

  • While Safety Data Sheets provide useful information about likely hazardous properties of chemicals, they limited guidance about handling chemicals in the laboratory.
  • Safe Methods of Use provide safety guidelines for use of chemicals or classes of chemicals in the laboratory which all laboratory staff must be familiar with and follow when handling chemicals.
  • At a minimum Laboratory personnel must have access to and follow the University General Laboratory Safe Method of Use.
  • More information can be obtained by consulting the Safe Methods of Use for the class of chemicals you intend using.
  • You may also find the chemical you intend using has been identified as problematic (formaldehyde or a cryogenic liquid) or highly hazardous (Hydrofluoric acid, phenol, picric acid or pyrophoric compounds) and you must consult the specific Safe Method of Use.

This webpage provides a large number of Safe Methods of Use under the following headings:

  1. General Laboratory and Workshop Safe Methods of Use
  2. Safe Methods of Use for classes of chemicals
  3. Safe Method of Use for problematic chemicals
  4. Safe Method of Use for spills and clean up
  5. Safe Methods of Use for Highly Hazardous Compounds
  6. Protective barriers

Please note: 

  • 'shall' denotes a mandatory requirement 
  • 'should' denotes a recommendation


Safe methods of use for problematic chemicals


Safe methods of use for spills and cleanup


Safe Methods of Use for protective barriers

The following safe methods of use are to be followed when using protective barriers (blast shields or fume hoods) for potentially explosive reactions.