This page covers important lab safety information that should be reviewed by all lab users but especially faculty members with lab space. The material covered on this page reviews the most common safety issues and hazards pertinent to FENV labs. However, researchers working with other hazards (e.g,. x-ray equipment, lasers, biohazards) must review the appropriate EHS webpages.

Please click on the topic below to navigate to a particular section: 

  1. Laboratory Inspections 
  2. Door Signage 
  3. Compressed Gases 
  4. Chemicals
  5. Additional Links (e.g., spill clean-up, PPE, equipment etc...)

If you have any questions regarding lab safety please contact 

Laboratory Inspections

All labs at SFU must complete both monthly and annual inspections. Copies of these inspections (digital or hard copy) must be retained by the lab PI for two years.

Monthly Inspections 

The monthly inspection is comprised of a 1-page checklist and can be completed by any lab member. The monthly inspection checklist should be clearly posted on the door of the lab so that it’s completion can be verified. If you require help with the monthly checklist please email

Annual Inspections

The annual inspection is completed by the Lab PI or designate and Megan Wong. An EHS representative may also join upon request. Annual inspections will always be scheduled in advance and the inspections are now moving to an online platform. 

Labs with biosafety permits, radioactive materials, lasers, or x-ray equipment require additional annual inspections. For information on these inspections please click on the pertinent link below:

Door Signage

All spaces that store hazardous materials, radioactive sources, x-ray generating devices, and laser devices must post a hazard door sign that is generated by the Laboratory Hazard Inventory System. All chemicals and other hazardous materials must be inventoried using this system. If you would like help with your chemical inventory or with the Hazard inventory system, please contact

Door signs are valid for one year after they are printed; however the sign must be reprinted if:

  1. New hazards are introduced into the lab
  2. There is a significant change to the quantity and type of chemicals stored in the lab
  3. Emergency contacts have changed

Other hazards, such as biohazards and lasers, require additional signage. Please see the EHS webpage focusing on signage for more information.

Compressed Gases

If your lab has compressed gases, please make sure to review the Compressed Gas Chemical Safety Fact sheet for important safety information.

A common mistake in many labs at SFU is the improper storage of gas cylinders. Gas cylinders must have two-point chain restraints: one placed one third from the top and the other placed at one third from the bottom (see left).

Please note that bench clamps and strap restraints must not be used. If you need to upgrade your cylinder restraints or would like them inspected, please contact

Another common issue is the stockpiling of gas cylinders in labs. Building codes dictate that cylinders stored in labs must be either in use (connected through a regulator or other mechanism) or acting as a single reserve for a cylinder that is in use. All other cylinders must be in a designated storage area.

Please notify Megan Wong if you are purchasing flammable, toxic, or oxidizing gases.


If your lab stores chemicals, please make sure to review the Hazardous Chemical Storage Manual, the EHS Laboratory Safety Manual, and SDS sheets for information on proper storage.

Fume hoods should not be used as long term storage for chemicals or equipment (unless they are clearly labelled as for storage only). If you need to store your chemicals in a flammables cabinet or acid cabinet and you do not have access to one please contact Megan Wong. All shelving used to store chemicals must have a lip to prevent chemicals falling in the event of an earthquake.

Many labs at SFU purchase a larger quantity of chemicals than they require. Reduce hazards in your lab by purchasing only the chemicals you need and in small amounts. PIs are strongly encouraged to repurchase chemicals when necessary instead of overstocking. If you only require a small amount of a chemical for a one-off experiment, please contact to see if it can be borrowed from another lab prior to purchasing.

Any chemicals that are transferred from their original containers must have a workplace label. A workplace label must contain the following elements:

  1. Product identifier
  2. Safe handling information (hazards associated with the product and basic precautions)
  3. Referral to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Workplace labels can be written directly on the bottle in clearly writing using permanent marker. Two other options are to buy premade bottles with workplace labels for common chemicals (e.g., acetone, ethanol) or to print on chemical resistant labels. Workplace labeled bottles for common chemicals can be purchased from science stores. If you would like to enquire about printing using chemical resistant labels please contact

All peroxide forming chemicals must be identified with a peroxide former label (see left). It is mandatory for peroxide-forming compounds to be labelled and that you test them at the appropriate interval (e.g., every 3 months, after opening and closing, etc…). Labels can be picked up at Science Stores at no cost and a list of common peroxide formers and their testing periods can be found in the EHS Laboratory Safety Manual (this list is not exhaustive, check your SDS sheet to determine if chemicals are peroxide formers). If your lab is using peroxide forming chemicals, make sure to review chemical safety fact sheet for peroxide formers so that you are aware of the hazards and control measures.

Additional Links

Some additional links that may be useful for laboratory users are below: 

If you do not regularly deal with hazardous waste disposal and require assistance please contact