Standard Operating procedures are (SOPs) are set instructions produced by an organization to help employers carry out tasks. The reason for SOPs is to achieve efficiency and lessen miscommunications in workplaces. (HSE, 2017). In dental laboratories SOPs can include Safety data sheets, these contain information on how chemical products should be handled, stored and emergency procedures that can be used in case of an incident occurring to the user. Safety data sheets describe the potential hazards and the chemical present. In addition, safety data sheet information acts as guidance on how to perform a task. According to the law it is necessary for suppliers of chemicals to produce an updated data sheet if a substance is regarded as harmful or dangerous. Safety data sheets must be mistaken for risk assessments as they are different from each other. (HSE, 2017). COSHH can also relates to this, as it is the law that orders all employers to manage substances that prove to be hazardous to health. These can be prevented or reduced b66twy carrying out certain procedures, to mention a few; identifying the hazards to health, then deciding what approach can prevent harm to health (for example risk assessments), setting up control measures and more. Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is an example of a monomer of acrylic resin, which is used in dental appliances, however MMA can be harmful for both the dental team and patients as a result certain procedure must applied to reduce possible risks that can occur. Also, it is important that dental staff avoid direct contact with MMA and work with the material in a well-ventilated area (Leggat, 2003).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is crucial at protecting the skin, mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth, from blood and other materials that could cause infections. The legislation for PPE states that members of the dental healthcare team must wear gloves, surgical masks, googles and lab coats. This reduces the chances of getting blood borne pathogens. In the process of handling methyl methacrylate certain PPE must be applied beforehand, for instance eye protection is not required but it is recommended. Hand protection is important and suitable glove types should be selected. Body protection such as a lab coat should also be worn.
Moreover, it is important for dental waste materials to be disposed of safely because they can be a risk to public health and can cause environmental issues. MMA is a good example of a material that must be disposed of safely, there are two ways of disposing it, the first way being through absorbing it in vermiculite or dry sand then disposed in a hygienic landfill preferably in an area where the odour will not be unpleasantly smelt (Occupational Health Guidelines for MMA, 1974). Furthermore, in terms of environmental issues MMA has both short term and long term toxic effects to aquatic life. Due to how it is often emitted into the atmosphere and manages to make its way into the ground and enter groundwater. MMA immediately evaporates into a gas when released from liquid form, because MMA is release to the air it can evaporate from the soil or water if they are exposed to air (Methyl methacrylate, 2014).
In terms of storage and handling most dental biomaterials must be stored and handled safely, and training should be provided to employers. Methyl methacrylate is a flammable material therefore, it should mainly be handled by employees who have received appropriate training on how to handle the product. Also, hygienic measures for dental practice should be utilised. Moreover, safe storage is required for methyl methacrylate and it must be kept in a cool and dry place.