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Safety information

Laboratory Safety

The Safety Office has a very important webpage with information on laboratory safety.

Safety Office

The Safety Office at the University of Waterloo maintains an alphabetical listing of all their extensive resources related to safety on their website.

Laboratory inspections

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

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.

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:  

Supervisor Online Orientation

All Employees

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 (not those taking courses) within the department of chemistry need to complete the following training:

  • WHMIS 2015 for employees (staff, faculty, postdocs, grad students).
  • Workplace Violence Training.
  • Employee Safety Orientation.

Undergraduate Chemistry students WHMIS 2015 training:

Safety Orientation/WHMIS 2015 for Students (undergraduate students only)

Please note that lab keys will not be issued until safety training has been completed. You will need to complete the Safety Training form that can be obtained online and provide your training records in order to receive lab keys.

Chemistry Department first aiders

First Aid Safety Office Form to be filled out with names of first aiders and posted near first aid kit.

Our Current Chemistry Department First Aiders (as of Nov 2014):

Name Office Extension
Mike Chong C2-364 36643
Eric Fillion C2-390 32470
Stacey Lavery C2-275A 31161
Laura Marrone ESC-147A 32536
Rick Marta ESC-340A 32907
Howard Siu C2-168B 37243
Sue Stathopulos STC-4019C 33868
Jan Venne C2-378 36364

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 

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 fill out this report and submit to the safety office.

Incident Investigation Report (PDF)

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 some MSDS databases, see this list on the Safety Office website.

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 from the Safety Office.

Additional training: biohazards, X-rays, radiation, gas cylinders

If you are working with additional hazards including biological substances, X-rays, compressed gases, lasers, and cryogenics, you need to have additional training. Supervisors must keep a record of this training by their employees.

Laboratory hazards page

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.

Chemical waste procedures

Please see the Safety Office document on their website that provides chemical waste segregation guidance.

Fire marshals

The Safety Office maintains the list of fire wardens and building evacuation coordinators at the following links on their website.

Fire wardens and building evacuation coordinators ESC

Fire wardens and building evacuation coordinators C2

The Chemistry Department Evacuation Handbook can be found on the Chemistry Sharepoint site.

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.

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.