Department of Chemistry
200 University Ave. W
Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32129
Mandatory employee training: for all in Chemistry
All supervisors of postdocs/graduate students/undergraduate students, including undergraduate laboratory instructors are required to have this online training completed:
The following is for anyone working or volunteering in the Chemistry Department and includes undergraduate researcher, graduate students, postdocs, visiting scientists, staff and faculty.
All those with paid or volunteer work within the Department of Chemistry need to complete the following mandatory training offered through the UW Safety Office:
- WHMIS 2015 for employees (staff, faculty, postdocs, grad students).
- Workplace Violence Training.
- Employee Safety Orientation.
- Accessibility Training Module
Undergraduate Chemistry students WHMIS 2015 training: WHMIS 2015 for Students.
Please note that lab keys will not be issued until safety training has been completed. You will need to complete the Safety Training Form (accessible PDF) and provide your training records in order to receive lab keys. Both the Mandatory training modules and the Hazard-specific training modules listed on the form are offered through the Safety Office. University of Waterloo Policy 34 - Health, Safety and Environment is also available online.
Additional training: biohazards, X-rays, radiation, gas cylinders
Safety Office and laboratory safety
The Safety Office has a very important webpage with information on laboratory safety and maintains an alphabetical listing of all their extensive resources related to safety.
Laboratory supervisors are required to undertake a safety evaluation of their space every month. Inspections are completed online at the University of Waterloo Safely website.
Emergencies and first aid information
Emergency contact information
Post on the inside of all laboratory doors an emergency contact sheet so others in the building know who to contact should people need to enter the laboratory.
Get the Emergency Contact Form (PDF) from the Safety Office.
First aiders in the Chemistry Office
Print the following list and post near the first aid kit in each laboratory.
Our Current Chemistry Department First Aiders (as of January 2023):
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If faculty/staff members are interested in obtaining First Aid training, please see this information on the Safety Office website.
First aid kits
Please check the contents of your first aid kits if you haven't already done so.
If you need any provisions for your first aid kits, Chem Stores has a stock of many items. They are provided free of charge and a sign-in sheet will be used to follow use.
Typical first aid kit generally contains:
6 - Hand cleansing towelettes
1 - Card of safety pins
24 - Adhesive dressings individually packaged
6 - Non adherent absorb-'nt pads 7.5 x 10.2 cm (3 x 4")
4 - Gauze bandages 10 cm (4")
2 - Compress Bandage Surgical pads (pressure dressings)
4 - Triangular bandages
1 - Roll non adhesive tape 2.5 cm 2"
1 - First aid scissors
2 - Instant cold packs
6 - Pairs non latex gloves
The list of fire wardens and evacuation coordinators can be found on the Chemistry SharePoint site.
Fire wardens and building evacuation coordinators ESC and C2 (login required)
The Chemistry Department Evacuation Handbook (login required) can be found on the Chemistry SharePoint site.
Injury and incident investigation reports
Reporting an injury
If you are injured, and will or have required aid (something more serious than what a simple bandaid can take care of), you need to submit the following form to the Safety Office. This reporting doesn’t mean there will be an investigation initiated into your work. We are trying to track problems and this will help.
Fill out the injury/incident form and submit within 1 working day of the incident to Safety Office.
Incident Investigation Report
If there is an accident, even if people are not hurt, but where either a spill, fire or explosion occurred that could have hurt someone or damaged property, please download the Incident and Investigation Form and submit to the Safety Office.
Chemical and waste information
Please see the Safety Office document on their website that provides chemical waste segregation guidance.
NOTE: The procedure for handling broken glassware has changed
Contaminated glassware is treated the same as solid contaminated waste (gloves, kimwipes, weigh boats, etc.) and is placed into the white pails with bag and lid, labelled with the contaminant and brought to the ESF for disposal and replacement.
Uncontaminated glassware can be brought to the ESF or dumped by the individual lab into one of the metal dumpsters (regular garbage) on campus.
Please read the Safety Office's updated Sharps Waste Segregation Guideline.
All laboratories need to have a laboratory hazards page outside their door. If there are changes to equipment or hazards in the laboratory, the supervisor must print out an update to the hazards page.
All laboratories need an updated hazards page outside their door that can be obtained from the Safety Office.
SOP for peroxide forming compounds
Please see the standard operating procedures (SOP) for peroxide performing compounds page for information.
Nanomaterials Safety Program
Nanomaterials are special because they have the potential to behave differently than the same material in the macro size range. Therefore, what is known about the macro material’s toxicity profile and how it may cause adverse effects may not be applicable to the nanomaterial. This is why traditional methods of assessment do not apply to nanomaterials.
The Nanomaterials Safety Program will outline a risk based approach to controlling and reducing the risk of working with Nanomaterials at any University of Waterloo facility. See the Safety Office Nanomaterials Safety Program webpage for more information.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
All MSDS must be less than 3 years old, and visible and accessible in each laboratory.
Hard Copies: Laboratories are required to have hard copies of routinely (weekly or more frequently) used chemicals. These hard copies must be current with revision date is less than 3 years old.
Soft Copies: Other chemicals can have MSDS that are accessed via computer. Graduate students need to show they know how to retrieve this information. Again, all MSDS need to be less than 3 years old.
For more information on chemical safety, see the Safety Office website.
The University of Waterloo Chemical Inventory System (erPortal)
The University of Waterloo has adopted erPortal's Hazardous Materials Management System to create laboratory inventories for individual labs and laboratory groups. The purpose of this initiative is to comply with the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act and to reduce the overall risk associated with using, handling, and storing chemical products or agents. See the Safety Office website for additional information.
Working Alone Guideline
Working alone under certain circumstances can increase an individual’s risk to health and safety. Measures to assess, communicate and mitigate such risks must be implemented to effectively manage risk related to this type of activity. The Working Alone Guideline can be seen on the Safety Office website.