Laboratory Chemical Safety Summaries were created to address this very issue. See the most recent editions of Prudent Practices.
While LCSS do not perfectly address your issues, they are a step in the right direction.
Hope this helps,
Peter A. Reinhardt (he/him/his)
Director, Office of Environmental Health & Safety
135 College St., Suite 100
New Haven, CT 06510-2411
Hello and Happy New Year,
Imperfect as they may be, we rely on SDSs for guidance in dealing with chemicals.
For student laboratories, problems arise that are different from industrial scale problems. SDSs seem to be concerned with the industrial scale. Take for examples, what to do in case of a spill. Would it not be helpful if SDSs were to designate size-appropriate actions? It seems to me that, generally speaking, spilling a milliliter of sulfuric acid should require a different response from that for the spill of a tank car full of sulfuric acid. Well-meaning teaching assistants, who do not have instructions on what action to take depending on the size of a spill, will tend to act on the side of caution (we would hope) which may involve unnecessary expense and disruption. Would there not seem to be practical value in an SDS saying something along the lines of "This amount is a small spill and you should do this, that amount is a medium spill and you should do that, more than this sized spill means you should evacuate and call 911!"? Clearly, what constitutes the various categories of spill size differs from substance to substance, which is why the SDS would seem (to me) the appropriate place for this information. There might even be the benefit of making some SDSs less scary.
This might be asking a bit much from documents that say to wear appropriate gloves without saying which gloves are appropriate. Should I just put this in my next letter to Santa?
Thank you very much,
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