SOPs

On April 30, 2013 the JST hosted a seminar presented by DEHS on Standard Operating Procedures. This workshop focused on the function and essential elements of standard operating procedures (SOPs). Topics discussed included writing SOPs, maintaining SOPs, and policies regarding SOP updates and availability to researchers. 

Answers to Common Questions on SOPs

1. What is a standard operating procedure (SOP)? (see Slide 5)

1. What is a standard operating procedure (SOP)? (see Slide 5)

A documented set of instructions, used to standardize a method and communicate hazards for a specific procedure, process, chemical class, chemical or piece of equipment.

2. What goes into an SOP? (see Slide (14-17)

2. What goes into an SOP? (see Slide (14-17)

Sequential list of steps outlining how to handle, operate, or perform a task

Potential hazards

Appropriate controls

Training Documentation

3. What types of SOPs should my lab have in place? (see Slides (20-36)

3. What types of SOPs should my lab have in place? (see Slides (20-36)

At minimum, the top 3 riskiest procedures performed in your lab. Choose based on:

Severity of consequences: death, serious injury or damage to facilities

Frequency of use or large volume

Easy to mess up

4. Why is my lab required to have SOPs on hand? (see Slides (6-10))

4. Why is my lab required to have SOPs on hand? (see Slides (6-10))

Satisfy requirements (OSHA- CHP, Lab-specific Training; Chemistry Department reqs)

Communicate hazards, Ensure consistent results and Protect people, equipment, research and environment.

Valuable skill for employers. i.e. Dow

Academic labs are under increased scrutiny from reg. agencies due to accidents

5. How often should we update our SOPs? (see Slides (51-52)

5. How often should we update our SOPs? (see Slides (51-52)

For the annual review or after using as Lab-specific training material

When a "significant change" is identified- not adopting severe consequences

6. How are SOPs maintained? (see Slides (11-13 & 19)

6. How are SOPs maintained? (see Slides (11-13 & 19)

Used as lab-specific training document for new group members. This process should identify any needed changes.

7. How do I write an SOP? (see Slides (38-49))

7. How do I write an SOP? (see Slides (38-49))

  • Identify needed SOPs which are not covered by other resources (Slides 23-32 & SOP resources)
  • Prioritize (slide 20 & ID & Prioritizing)
  • Write the Procedure (slide 40-42)
  • Re-read the procedure and assess for hazards (See slides 43-47 & Chemical Hazard ID)
  • Re-read the procedure and select appropriate controls (See slides 48-50 & Control Selection)