Appendix F: Standard Operating Procedures
Osmium Tetroxide and Ruthenium tetroxide are highly toxic chemicals, known to directly impact human health in a very negative manner. Ailments include skin disease, damage of the respiratory tract, blindness and death. The following safety procedures must be followed whenever you use these chemicals:
- Always use disposable elbow length gloves while handling these materials inside a fume hood. Make sure the fume hood is operating correctly! Wear a lab coat.
- Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.
- Carefully transfer the chemical from the refrigerator to the hood.
- Work with the hood sash lowered for additional protection.
- Be careful when breaking an ampule of these solutions so that no spill occurs in the hood.
- Cover the dish containing the chemicals and your sample while in use.
- Pour excess chemical from the ampule into a flask and transfer back to the refrigerator for future use.
- In case of a spill on your gloves, dispose of gloves in a plastic disposal bag and seal them inside a labeled container.
- Dispose of all glassware (broken ampules, pipettes, etc.) and waste inside a sealed and labeled container.
- In case of a small spill (<10 ml) inside the hood, neutralize with corn oil (for osmium tetroxide) or sodium bisulfite solution for either chemical. Use about 1 teaspoon of sodium bisulfite in 25 mls of water.
- For larger spills, evacuate the room and contact Environmental Health and Safety 6-6002 or 911.
- Always wear appropriate safety attire when working with HF. This includes goggles, gloves, and lab jacket.
- Always handle HF under the fume hood. HF has a relatively high vapor pressure so HF needs to be vented away from the user.
- Discard used HF in polyethylene waste bottle. DO NOT use glass--HF dissolves glass.
- Always consult Material Safety Data Sheet before beginning work with HF and other hazardous materials.
- One specific danger of HF is that although it is a weak acid and does not corrode the skin or cause a burning sensation, it is still very damaging to your bones. HF can form soluble calcium fluorides and erode bone matter. There should be an HF neutralizer in your lab in case of accidental contact with your skin.