Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) work well for designing experimental protocols in general. It provides an opportunity to identify risks and hazards at each step of an experimental process. An effective SOP analyzes potential hazards associated with a number of factors ranging from the types of materials the experiment requires, to the people working in the lab. Based on the identification of these hazards and risks, SOPs help predict what could go wrong and assess the impact of a safety failure.
Learn more about hazard identification factors to assess.
The SOP often includes information collected from a checklist, Job Hazard Analysis, What-if Analysis, or control banding.
SOPs are typically developed for repetitive procedures known to have associated hazards, such as injury, property loss, or loss of productivity. The SOP outlines written steps that can be followed to safely execute the procedure. Each step of the experiment can be analyzed separately to identify failure points. After each step is analyzed for potential dangers, the whole experiment process should be examined from beginning to end to determine if combinations of the factors could impact safety.
The lab worker uses the hazard matrix to review the risks associated with the use of hazardous materials, hazardous processes, and hazardous equipment. They also measure impact of conditions including: adequacy of facilities, worker knowledge and experience and proposed hazard mitigation measures.