The Chemical Safety Program establishes the requirements workers, supervisors, and other stakeholders must undertake to reduce risk when working with chemicals.
- Researchers shall complete the Laboratory Risk Assessment processes outlined in this program; or refer to previously completed and relevant risk assessments before work with chemicals is undertaken.
- Non-research chemical users shall refer to Job Hazard Analysis to identify and manage the risks associated with chemical work. By understanding the risks associated when working with chemicals, it becomes clearer to what level a hazard must be controlled.
See the Chemical Safety Program for more information.
Training involves in-person and online course work. Training for chemical safety is divided into non-research and research work.
At minimum, training in these cases will involve the following:
In-person training performed by the supervisor or a competent delegate:
- Outlines hazards and what precautions should be taken when using, storing, handling and disposing of chemicals
- Demonstration of processes outlined in the SOP
- WHMIS (SO2017)
- Risk Assessment (SO2500)
- Laboratory Safety (SO1010)
- Chemical Waste Segregation (SO2070)
- Safe Chemical Handling (SO2032)
In-person delivered by supervisors or competent delegate:
- Orientation relating to chemical handling, storage and disposal – to be performed annually in-person
- Orientation specific to emergency response – to be performed annually and in-person
- Orientation on use of the lab’s chemical inventory
- Orientation on how to identify hazards, assess risks, and implement controls for work involving the use of chemicals
Chemicals should be separated by hazard class and stored in separate cabinets. When that is not possible, the following guidelines can be used. Despite the storage class, the basic principles as described in the Storage Guidelines apply.
|Storage Class||Definition||Poster and Resources|
|A - Organic Basis||
Contain nitrogen or amino groups.
e.g., hydoxylamine, tetramethylethylamine, diamine, thiethylamine
|A - Guidance|
|B - Pyrophoric and Water Reactive||
Liquids or solids upon contact with air or water will either spontaneously ignite or react
e.g., lithium, potassium metals, sodium borohydride, zinc dust, alkyl lithium solutions
|B - Guidance|
|C - Inorganic Bases||
Inorganic bases normally contain a hydroxide group and accept hydrogen ions from other substances. Their general action is the corrosion of metals and destruction of living tissue.
e.g., sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide
|C - Guidance|
|D - Organic Acids||
Organic acids are acids that contain a carbon-hydrogen backbone. Are often the weaker of acids.
e.g., formic acid, acetic acid, propionic acid
|D - Guidance|
|E - Oxidizers||
Oxidizers are substances that readily release oxygen or another oxidizing substance (chlorine, bromine, or fluorine).
e.g., nitrates, nitrites, permanganates, chlorates
|E - Guidance|
|F - Inorganic Acids||
An inorganic acid is a compound of hydrogen and one or more other element (with the exception of carbon) that dissociates or breaks down to produce hydrogen ions when dissolved in water or other solvents. Often the “stronger” acids.
e.g., hydrochloric acid, chromic acid, phosphoric acid
|F - Guidance|
|G - Compatible with Anything||
Materials used with no special hazards.
e.g., agars, sodium chloride, amino acids
|G - Guidance|
|K - Explosives or Other Highly Unstable||
May detonate or cause extreme reactions upon shock or heating.
e.g., trinitrophenol, picric acid dry (<10% water), diazolsobutyinitrile, tetrazole, urea nitrate
|K - Guidance|
|L - Non-Reactive Flammable and Combustibles||
Flammable liquids have a flashpoint below 100°F. Combustible liquids have a flashpoint above 100°F. Materials that can catch fire and burn at working temperatures or above work temperatures.
e.g., ethanol, methanol, hexane, carbon, charcoal
|L - Guidance|
|OA - Oxidizing Acids and Inorganic Peroxides||
Highly reactive and gives off oxygen and other oxidizing substances. They can intensify combustion during a fire. Corrosive.
E.g., nitric acid, perchloric acid, sulfuric acid
|OA - Guidance|
|X - Organic Peroxides||
Highly flammable and explosive due to the formation of peroxides. Very sensitive to shock, sparks, light, strong oxidizers, reducing agents, frictions, and high temperatures.
e.g., benzoyl peroxide, methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, tert butyl hydroperoxide, acetyl peroxide
|X - Guidance|
|Download all storage resources.|
The following fact sheets and resources are available for various hazardous chemicals used across campus.
- Hydrofluoric Acid * Requires SOP and Spill Plan
- Elemental Mercury * Requires Spill Plan
- Picric Acid * Requires SOP
- Aqua Regia * Requires SOP
- Ethidium Bromide / Sybr Safe
- Nitric Acid
- Perchloric Acid * Requires SOP
- Peroxide Forming Compounds - Developed by the Chemistry Department
- Printable Peroxide Test Labels Avery 60505
- Printable Peroxide Test Labels Avery 60503
- A Guide to Peroxide Former Warnings in Risk & Safety Solutions
- Peroxide forming labels are available from the Safety Office
- Nanomaterials * Requires Nanomaterials Risk Assessment
Other relevant programs/websites
- Chemical inventory system (RSS) - All labs with chemicals are required to have an up-to-date chemical inventory maintained on a yearly basis.
- Hazardous waste standard - Minimum requirements for disposing of hazardous waste on campus.
- WHMIS - Legal requirements for training, labelling and SDSs.
- Risk assessment and standard operating procedures - Expectations for assessing risk and developing safe operating procedures
- Designated substances - Select chemicals in Ontario with additional regulations
- Hazardous material spills - Outlines the minimum requirements for spill kits and spill response steps
- Assessing Chemical Risk in Research Environments
- Chemical Reactivity Worksheet (U. S. National Office of Response and Restoration)
- Guidance on Safety Data Sheet (SDS)