Chemical-specific caution notes have appeared in a number of articles in Organic Syntheses over the years highlighting substances and operations that pose particular potential hazards. Note that the absence of a chemical-specific caution note does not imply that there are no significant hazards associated with the chemicals involved in a procedure.

Effective in August 2017, the first Note in every article is devoted to addressing the safety aspects of the procedures described in the article. The Article Template provides the required wording and format for Note 1, which reminds readers of the importance of carrying out risk assessments and hazard analyses prior to performing all experiments:

Prior to performing each reaction, a thorough hazard analysis and risk assessment should be carried out with regard to each chemical substance and experimental operation on the scale planned and in the context of the laboratory where the procedures will be carried out. Guidelines for carrying out risk assessments and for analyzing the hazards associated with chemicals can be found in references such as Chapter 4 of "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory" (The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2011; the full text can be accessed free of charge at https://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12654). See also "Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories" (American Chemical Society, 2015) which is available via the associated website "Hazard Assessment in Research Laboratories" at https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/about/governance/committees/chemicalsafety/hazard-assessment.html. In the case of this procedure, the risk assessment should include (but not necessarily be limited to) an evaluation of the potential hazards associated with (enter list of chemicals here), as well as the proper procedures for (list any unusual experimental operations here). (Provide additional cautions with regard to exceptional hazards here).

For the required list of chemicals, authors should include all reactants, solvents, and other chemicals involved in the reactions described in the article.

With regard to the list of experimental operations, this list should be limited to those operations that potentially pose significant hazards. Examples may include

  •  Vacuum distillations
  •  Reactions run at elevated pressure or in sealed reaction vessels
  •  Photochemical reactions

In the case of experiments that involve exceptional hazards such as the use of pyrophoric or explosive substances, and substances with a high degree of acute or chronic toxicity, authors should provide additional guidelines for how to carry out the experiment so as to minimize risk. These instructions formerly would have appeared as red "Caution Notes" in Organic Syntheses articles. Note that it is not essential to describe general safety procedures such as working in a hood, avoiding skin contact, using eye protection, etc., since these are discussed in the Prudent Practices reference mentioned in the "Working with Hazardous Chemicals" statement within each article.

Efforts should be made to avoid the use of toxic and hazardous solvents and reagents when less hazardous alternatives are available.