SOP for Mercury Use


University of Washington Department of Microbiology

Standard Operating Procedures for Chemicals or Processes

#1   Process

(if applicable)

Mercury - handling (lab use, thermometers, etc) including: thermometers for water bath.

#2  Chemicals

Metallic mercury at elevated temperatures (e.g., drying ovens, water baths, incubators, etc.) will vaporize and may reach concentrations which will adversely affect worker health.

#3   Personal Protective                        Equipment (PPE)

Safety glasses, gloves and a lab coat or apron are recommended for personal protection and are required during dispensing and spill cleanup activities.

#4   Environmental /

Ventilation Controls


#5  Special Handling Procedures & Storage Requirements

Use an unbreakable container when transporting thermometers or other mercury containing equipment. Dispense mercury in a pan with raised edges to contain spills. If possible place a plastic tub under equipment containing large amounts of mercury.

#6  Spill and Accident                         Procedures

Spills less than 5 ml (e.g. thermometer) should be cleaned up according to the instructions in the mercury spill cleanup kit which is located next to bookcase in 352. A mercury vacuum may also be used. User instructions should be attached to the machine. Users should receive specialized training regarding proper use of the unit prior to their first use. A mercury vacuum is not located in this lab. Call EH&S at 5-2848 for questions regarding the cleanliness of an area after cleanup.

#7  Waste Disposal

Place mercury and contaminated materials, such as broken glass, into a screw capped plastic container. Label with 'Hazardous Waste Label' and contact EH&S 5-2848 for collection.

#8  Special Precautions                       for Animal Use

(if applicable)


Particularly hazardous

substance involved?


Blocks #9 to #11 are Mandatory

  X    NO:

Blocks #9 to #11 are Optional.

#9  Approval Required


#10 Decontamination


#11 Designated Area


Name:                                                                                  Title:

Signature:                                                                                              Date:                                    

Environmental Health and Safety, Box 354400                         *to be filled in by PI or Supervisor


See Disclaimer