Health & Safety

Health and Safety

safety glasses and latex free glovesAs you know, working with chemicals can be a dangerous job. Be sure to know where the closest emergency response centres are to your workplace, as well as the appropriate emergency procedures in case of accident.

Poison Control Centres

The Role of Poison Control Centres

You can find the number of the nearest Poison Control Centre on the first page of your local phonebook or by dialing 911. To provide you with rapid and accurate poison management information, PCC staff will need specific information from patients, caregivers, or healthcare professionals.

Poison Control Centres are staffed 24 hours a day by trained poison information specialists, including pharmacists, nurses, and physicians. They have complete access to numerous resources including POISINDEX, a computerized system containing information and treatment protocols for more than 800,000 products.

PCCs :

  • identify toxic ingredients and plants
  • aid in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of poisonings by giving rapid and accurate assessment of the poison exposure
  • increase public awareness of the importance of avoiding potentially hazardous home remedies
  • provide the location of specific antidotes and other specific treatments
  • increase public awareness of the importance of avoiding potentially hazardous home remedies
  • reduce healthcare costs through home management of minor exposures, thus preventing the need for minor hospital visits
  • release public education campaigns
  • provide phone numbers for other important toxicology resources, such as for chemical spills and addiction services

Spill Response Centres

In case of an accidental spill or incident, Environment Canada’s environmental emergencies program provides information on relevant activities and services that can help you:

Excerpt from this site:

A tiered approach to emergency management has evolved in Canada, where – in keeping with the country’s legal and constitutional framework – responsibility for initial action in an emergency lies with the individual. The different orders of government only step in as their resources and response capabilities are needed to control and mitigate the situation.

  1. If the individual cannot cope, the municipal services are called upon. Mayors and other elected heads of local governments are responsible for ensuring that emergency plans exist within their municipalities and that they are exercised regularly. Most emergencies occur within, and are dealt with effectively by, a municipality.
  2. If the municipality cannot manage to respond effectively, the province or territory may be called to come to its aid. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for coordinating the interface with the municipalities.
  3. If a province or territory needs help, the federal government’s aid is formally requested. The federal government intervenes only when asked or when the emergency clearly impacts on areas of federal jurisdiction (e.g. floods or spills on federal lands), or in a national emergency.

Laboratory Health and Safety Guidelines, 4th Edition

On August 10-15, 2003, the joint 39th IUPAC Congress and 86th Conference of The Canadian Society for Chemistry, in international event, was held at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa.

It was at this occasion that the Laboratory Health and Safety Guidelines, 4th Edition was launched.

This handbook was designed with students entering the workplace, as well as chemical professionals who need a convenient desktop safety resource, in mind. This practical source of information serves as a reminder of the need for a constant commitment to safety in the lab and in the plant. A team of reviewers were drawn from both industry and academia.

Woman conducting a chemical experiment

How it came to be

The Health and Safety Committee of the Ordre des chimistes du Québec wrote the first edition of the Guide in 1982 to fill the need for an appropriate working tool in Quebec. The Guide was updated in 1985 and a chapter on waste management added.

The CIC and OCQ recognized that a publication was needed to make safety information which complied with provincial standards readily available in all Canadian laboratories. The OCQ had the “Guide de sécurité en laboratoire” translated into English, and the CIC agreed to adapt the manuscript to reflect provincial and federal legislation.

Reviewers in each province read and commented on the document. Then, a small committee reorganized many sections to provide an updated, useful laboratory reference. Everyone involved in reviewing and rewriting the Handbook gave freely of their time and expertise to make this publication possible. Their diligent efforts are greatly appreciated.

The Chemical Institute of Canada is very pleased to join with the Ordre des chimistes du Québec in publishing the fourth edition of the Laboratory Health and Safety Guidelines. This edition, based on the fourth edition of the Guide de santé et de sécurité au laboratoire, has been translated and revised by Claude Bordeleau, PhD, MCIC, to reflect the diversity in Canadian practices. Some of the changes involve the addition of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and updated occupational health and safety bibliography.

Safety must remain our priority

Members of the CIC technical Review Team, detailed below, introduced this revision with the understanding that all users assume the overall responsibility of health and safety in the laboratory.

The chemical industry and profession are built on a foundation of trust with society. That trust stems from the safe operation of laboratories: industrial, academic, or governmental. The education of engineers, scientists, and technologists must support that level of trust in our shared responsibility for safe and ethical research, chemical processing, and analysis.

Increased public awareness of chemical hazards and concomitant expansion of government regulatory oversight has added to the complexity of the workplace. Senior personnel are constantly reminded of the need for safe performance; they bear exceptional responsibility in dealing with new laboratory personnel to ensure they all adhere to the highest safety standards.

It is our hope that this new edition will be a great aid in maintaining our commitment to safety, to the public and to each other.

Eric Mead, MSc, FCIC
Chair (2002 – 2003)
Roland Andersson, MCIC
Executive Director
The Chemical Institute of Canada

CIC Technical Review Team
Roland Andersson, MCIC,

The Chemical Institute of Canada
Claude Bordeleau, MCIC, Chair of the Review Team,

Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario (ACPO)
Duncan Bristow, FCIC,

Imperial Oil
Roger Cockerline, MCIC,

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Karl Grozinger, MCIC,

Boehringer-Ingelheim Limited
Brian Kohler, MCIC,

cCT, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
Taras Obal, MCIC,

Maxxam Analytics
Karen McDonald, MCIC,

Concordia University of Alberta
Eric Mead, FCIC,

Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), Kelsey Campus