Rules, guidelines and Safe Methods of Use (SMOU)

Stay safe in our chemical labs by following the rules and the SMOU.

General information

  1. Personal protective equipment must be worn when handling chemicals:
    • Gloves, safety glasses and lab coats are a minimum requirement.
  2. All laboratory personnel must undergo some formal induction programme in chemical safety before working in the laboratory.
  3. The Safety Data Sheets and Safe Methods of Use provide essential information about keeping safe in the University labs, and must be followed.
  4. The purchase, storage and disposal of chemicals must follow set procedures.

Learn more about the purchasing, storage and disposal of chemicals.

Safety Data Sheets and Safe Methods of Use

Safety data sheets (SDS or MSDS)

  • Originally designed for industrial and domestic situations, SDS
    provide information about the likely hazardous properties of chemicals but have limited guidance about handling chemicals in the laboratory.
  • All laboratory personnel must consult the relevant SDS when using
    a chemical for the first time or when unfamiliar with its hazardous properties.

Safe methods of use (SMOU)

Safety guidelines for the handling of chemicals or classes of
chemicals in a laboratory.

  • All chemical laboratory and workshop personnel must be familiar with and follow the information provided in the SMOU documents.
  • As a minimum, lab personnel must have access to and follow the general laboratories and workshops SMOU.
  • More information can be obtained by consulting the SMOU 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.

Safe methods of use (SMOU)

Note that the use of:

  • ‘Shall’ means it is a mandatory
    requirement
  • ‘Should’ means it is a recommendation

Emergency procedures

General laboratories and workshops

The information you need to know and follow. 

Personal protective equipment

Learn more about what equipment must be worn when handling chemicals.

Glove compatibility

Find out more about glove compatibility.

Safe methods of use for classes of chemicals

Safe methods of use for classes of chemicals

Safe methods of use for problematic chemicals

Safe methods of use for spills and clean-up

Safe methods of use for highly hazardous compounds

More reading on hydrofluoric acid

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.

See SMOU 24 in the Safe Methods of Use for Spills and Clean-up section, above.

Purchase, storage and disposal of chemicals

Learn more about the rules for the purchase, storage and disposal of chemicals.

Get the details: Purchase, storage and disposal of chemicals.

Safety at the School of Chemical Sciences

The following downloadable documents contain information that is specific to the School of Chemical Sciences.

Document Control
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: Dec 2019
Next Review: Dec 2022
Owner: hsw@auckland.ac.nz
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing