Hazardous chemicals are used in a wide variety of operations and research activities at the Health Sciences Campus. The Health, Safety and Risk Management Office’s chemical safety program addresses proper use, handling and storage of these materials. This is essential for creating and maintaining a safe working environment. Certain chemicals can be harmful to our health and environment and may require even more specialized attention.
All chemical products, when they come into the Health Sciences Campus, are processed initially by the Receiving Department at 451 Smyth Road. The products are entered into the Vertere Chemical Inventory system and ownership is then transferred to the appropriate researcher or area supervisor. It is therefore incumbent on anyone working with chemicals to ensure that they are used, handled and stored properly.
Equipment Decontamination and Decommissioning
In the course of shutting down a laboratory or when equipment is simply old and must be discarded, the Health, Safety and Risk Management Office, in coordination with the Faculty of Medicine’s Technical Support team, is called upon to decontaminate or decommission equipment or research spaces as needed.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any kind of clothing, eyewear or other apparel that protects the users from hazards present in their work environment or that they might encounter in their daily activities. The Health, Safety and Risk Management Office wants to ensure that all persons are adequately protected by providing recommendations as to what type of PPE might be necessary for you by providing the information below.
According to the University of Ottawa’s procedure on safety eyewear (PDF) and the University’s guidelines on PPE, “safety eyewear must be worn in circumstances where there is a hazard of:
Impact (flying particles, dusts, vapours)
Splash (chemical, radioactive, biological agents) or
Ultraviolet and infrared (harmful rays).”
It is important to note that not all safety eyewear is suitable for all potential hazards in the laboratory. For example, goggles are preferable when pouring corrosive liquids. Safety glasses are primarily designed to protect one’s eyes from flying objects. Prescription eyewear is never to be considered safety eyewear.
According to the University of Ottawa’s guidelines on PPE, “lab coats must be worn at all times when working in the laboratory using hazardous materials.” The Health, Safety and Risk Management Office suggests that ALL personnel, whether employee, student, volunteer or visitor, wear an appropriate lab coat at ALL times within the laboratory environments.
Though gloves can be a very useful piece of PPE, it is important to use them correctly. The standard powderless nitrile gloves will not be beneficial in all situations. All gloves are not impermeable to all materials. It is therefore very important to verify the manufacturer’s specifications for your gloves before using them. You may also make use of the glove guide to choose the correct type of glove for the work to be conducted.