Chemical safety

SFU has a comprehensive chemical safety program that applies to all areas where hazardous chemical agents are used, stored or handled.


Overview of legislation

SFU must meet the legal requirements for chemical safety in the workplace as per the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR). Specific requirements in the OHSR are found in: 

SFU also must adhere to several pieces of federal legislation that relate to the use of certain chemicals:

  • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and related regulations
  • Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act and related regulations
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (Chemicals Management Plan)


WHMIS consists of legislation at the federal, provincial and territorial levels to ensure all Canadian workers receive health and safety information about hazardous products in the workplace. Key elements of WHMIS include hazard classification, labels (supplier and workplace), Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and worker education and training. 


All products distributed or sold in Canada will have a supplier label. Workplace labels are the responsibility of the users of the product and are applied when chemicals are transferred from their original container, when solutions or compounds are prepared in the lab or when the original supplier label is missing, damaged or illegible. All substances, both hazardous and non-hazardous, must be labelled in the laboratory. 

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

Each laboratory must ensure access to electronic or paper copies of SDSs for every hazardous product used or stored there. Each SDS is valid for 3 years, so if you keep paper copies, be sure to update them. 

Education and training

All SFU employees who work where hazardous products are used, stored or handled must receive training and education related to WHMIS. EHS offers general WHMIS education via an online module. Supervisors must ensure lab members receive lab-specific training and education about safe use, storage, handling, disposal and procedures in case of release, spill or other incident involving hazardous products.

SFU Chemical & Laboratory Safety Committee

The Simon Fraser University Chemical & Laboratory Safety Committee (CLSC) is authorized to implement, oversee and enforce the University’s Chemical and Laboratory safety programs, as they apply to practices in teaching and research laboratories, in order to assess compliance, identify best practices and/or find areas for improvement.  For more details, see the CLSC Terms of reference.

Inspections and audits

In accordance with the BC Occupational Health and Safety regulation, laboratories with hazardous chemicals must be periodically inspected. Refer to general laboratory safety/inspections for more information and resources.

Environmental Health and Safety may conduct periodic audits of completed inspections to assess the current state of compliance with chemical safety requirements.

Chemical inventory

An online laboratory hazard inventory allows SFU to better meet important regulatory requirements. Use the system to create and manage your laboratory chemical inventory and to produce the chemical hazard door sign.


Do you need to update your chemical hazard door sign? Visit the hazard inventory.

For more signage information, refer to chemical safety signage.