Safety information

Mandatory employee training: For all in Chemistry


All supervisors of post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students, including undergraduate laboratory instructors, are required to have the below online training completed:

All employees

The following is for anyone working or volunteering in the Department of Chemistry and includes undergraduate researcher, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, 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:

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 Key Request - Required Training Form (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

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.

For a list of additional training offered by the Safety Office, see the Safety Office Training webpage.

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 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.

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 August 2023):

Name Office Extension Expiry
Mike Chong C2-364 36643 December 14, 2025
Harmeen Deol ESC-147A 32536 December 15, 2025
Thorsten Dieckmann ESC-227 35036 December 15, 2025
Julie Goll STC-4048 38696 December 14, 2025
Pat Gruber C2-283 37466 November 29, 2025
Laura Ingram C2-274 30273 December 14, 2025
Leanne Racicot ESC-102A 30244 November 29, 2025
Kim Rawson C2-280 48111 June 16, 2025
Julie Shikaze C2-280 35087 November 29, 2025
Howard Siu C2-168B/STC 5002 37243 November 23, 2025
Blossom Yan C2-378 36364 December 1, 2025

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 absorbent 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

Fire marshals

The list of fire wardens and evacuation coordinators can be found on the Chemistry SharePoint site.

Fire wardens and building evacuation coordinators C2 and ESC (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 one 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.

Laboratory hazards

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.

The University of Waterloo Chemical Inventory System (RSS)

The University of Waterloo uses a university-wide chemical inventory system provided by Risk and Safety Solutions (RSS) 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.

Every lab must have their chemical inventory in the chemical inventory system. In addition, each lab member must be added to the group so that they can access SDS. Paper SDSs are not required in the lab, as they are provided via the University's inventory system.

For more information on chemical safety, see the Safety Office website.

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.