Acid handling SOP

Standard operating procedures 7/2009
Judelson lab SOP: Working with Concentrated Acids
Acids are handled nearly every day in the lab without incident. This can lead to a false sense
of security. Be aware of the risks of handing acids, and of procedures to reduce risk.
The hazards
Concentrated acids are very corrosive They may be fatal if inhaled, and can cause severe eye
and skin burns, severe respiratory and digestive tract burns.
Before starting to work with acids
Think! What are the hazards associated with the activity?
Perhaps you think that the risk is minor, since often only a few mls of acid are used per process.
But often we dispense the acids from a 2.5 liter bottle; what would happen if the bottle broke, or
fell over and emptied its contents over you?
Refresh your memory concerning the location of the nearest safety shower and eyewash.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Wear gloves, a lab coat, and protective glasses whenever working with a concentrated acid.
You must also be wearing closed-toe shoes, and long pants are preferred over shorts.
Dispensing acids from the large stock bottle
This should be done in the chemical fume hood, to ensure adequate ventilation. Even when
working in the hood, wear the PPE described above. Pull down the sash in front of the bottle to
minimize your exposure in case of a spill or splash.
Handling bottles of acid
Exercise extreme caution in this activity. If the bottle is not safety coated, use the rubber acid
carrier when transporting the acids. Avoid dispensing from the stock bottle directly into a
graduated cylinder; it is safer to first pour the acid into a glass beaker.
Storing concentrated acids
These should be stored in dedicated acid cabinets, in a secondary containment tray. Do not
store mineral acids (HCl, H2SO4, HNO3) with organics including organic acids like acetic acid.
Spill and Accident Procedures
If you spill a concentrated acid and the spill is an immediate threat to your health (>1 liter) leave
the room (and evacuate others), then call 911. Remain nearby (at a safe distance) to direct
emergency workers, and to prevent people from entering the room. You can also call EH&S (25528). If the spill is small (<500 ml), use the absorbant material in the spill-control kit; first make
a circle encompassing the spill then pour the absorbent on top of the spill. Neutralize the wet
absorbant by slowly adding sodium bicarbonate. After the chemical reaction stops, discard in a
sturdy plastic bag into the dumpster.
Skin exposure: Rinse affected skin with plenty of water while removing contaminated clothing
and shoes. Rinse for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention.
Eye exposure: Splashes may cause tissue destruction. Wash eyes for at least 15 minutes,
lifting the upper and lower eyelids occasionally. Seek medical attention immediately.