Department Safety Organization

Responsibility for Safety

Each member of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department is a member of the safety team; this includes all employees as well as post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students associated with the department. Primary responsibility is placed on the individual doing the work. For example, the student, the staff member, or the researcher is responsible for carrying out her/his work safely.

Departmental Safety Committee

The Department Head appoints members of the committee in the department. Other members of the Departmental Safety Committee will be assigned yearly and the list of names distributed. The committee is responsible for:

  • Establishing departmental safety policy.
  • Promoting uniform safety practices and supervision of demonstrations of safety equipment available in the department.
  • Fostering good communication in safety.
  • Reviewing the department’s safety program.
  • Reviewing the department’s accident experience.
  • Reviewing projects from a safety viewpoint as required.
  • Conducting departmental safety inspections at intervals.
  • Assessing department’s safety protection equipment.
  • Formulating the annual safety budget.
  • Receiving accident reports.
  • Maintaining a library of safety publications and safety data applicable to the department’s activities.
  • Circulating safety information as required within the department.
  • Consultation with the Occupational Health and Safety Committee on matters pertaining to safety.
  • Reporting serious matters regarding safety or safe practices to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee.
Teaching Assistant Duties and Responsibilities for Safety

The strength of the department’s safety program depends on the performance of its teaching assistants in the undergraduate instructional laboratories. By her/his actions and example, the teaching assistant develops students with safe working habits. By so doing, he/she strengthens her/his own safe working habits and becomes aware of the hazards of the chemistry laboratory. These habits carry over to her/his graduate research work. A few guidelines regarding the Teaching Assistant’s duties with respect to safety are:

  • Teach and enforce safety as an integral part of the course. Ensure that students carefully analyze the safety aspects of an experiment prior to beginning. Such an assessment includes:
    • Collecting pertinent information, forecasting potential hazards, selection of safe techniques, use of protective equipment
    • Plan of action in case an unanticipated accident occurs
    See that safety rules are obeyed; set a good example yourself. Remain in the laboratory at all times when students are present, have someone else in charge if you must. Know the location and use of the protective equipment provided. Be sure to attend the demonstrations on the proper use of the safety equipment. These courses will be held twice a year for teaching assistants.
  • In case of an accident or illness:
    • Render prompt first aid, doing only the minimum necesary to prevent more serious injuries. If the injury or illness appears serious, have someone call for an ambulance (9-911 or 911 from a cell phone).
    • Report all accidents that cause injury, no matter how minor, immediately to your supervisor and the Department Safety Chair, so that an Accident Report can be completed.
Responsibilities for Clean-up

Should a spill/accident occur, it is the duty of the person involved to see that the area is cleaned up as soon as possible, using the proper safety precautions. Should that person be incapacitated due to the accident, no one should begin the clean up until the proper procedure is known and the necessary safety equipment is available.

All graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and research personnel who have finished their program are required to clean their lab and desk area prior to departure. They must properly store or dispose of all chemicals. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to see that this procedure is carried out.

Regular safety inspections are conducted throughout the year. Supervisors are responsible for safety in their area and should ensure that students and other personnel maintain a safe environment.


All employees must have some form of training in the area of Health and Safety. The following key courses are available from Safety Resources.

  • a) Laboratory Safety – compulsory for all employees working in the laboratories (staff, students, faculty).
  • b) WHMIS  – compulsory for all employees working in the laboratories (staff, students, faculty).
  • c) Safety Orientation for Employees – compulsory for all new staff and faculty.

Please see the list of Safety Training courses for more information.