Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures:

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of written instructions that describes in detail how to perform a laboratory process or experiment safely and effectively. SOPs are a requirement of Cal Poly’s Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).

The scope of an SOP can cover:

  • The specific use of a chemical or class of chemicals (such as a specific laboratory procedure).
  • The generic use specific chemical or class of chemicals with similar hazards (for example, mineral acids).
  • generic procedure (such as distillation) that covers several chemicals.


The PI/Lab Supervisor is responsible for providing written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) relevant to health and safety for laboratory activities he/she directs involving hazardous agents.

Prioritizing SOP Development

Priority for SOP development should be given to any operation involving Restricted Chemicals, certain higher risk chemicals, such as select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and chemicals with high acute toxicity and highly reactive chemicals, and specified higher risk research procedures described in the CHP.

A Standard Operating Template is below. Departments may elect to use this form and fill in appropriate information in the gray shaded text areas to generate SOP's for their specific laboratory activities.

Standard Operating Procedure Template:

General Use SOPs

General use SOPs for some of the hazardous chemicals commonly used are available for you to incorporate into your own SOPs, as appropriate.