Chemical safety

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

Exposure control

Control chemical risk and exposure by applying control measures according to the hierarchy of controls.


  • Remove the chemical or hazard from the experiment


  • Replace a chemical with a less hazardous one or a lower concentration
  • Choose a safer process (e.g., water-based instead of organic solvent-based process)
  • Thoroughly examine the safety and suitability of the substitute
  • Ideally is done early in the experimental design phase to be most cost-effective

Engineering controls

  • Isolate people from the hazard (e.g., fume hood, local ventilation, interlocks)
  • Usually expensive and can take time to implement if equipment is not already available

Administrative controls

  • Change the way people work (e.g., lab rules, procedures, techniques, work hours, buddy system, training, or warning systems)
  • Relatively inexpensive to implement

Personal protective equipment

  • Includes basic PPE such as safety glasses/goggles, lab coat and appropriate gloves
  • May comprise specialized PPE such as flame retardant lab coat, face shield, respirator, or hearing protection
  • Must never be used alone to control risk/exposure; should be used in conjunction with engineering controls, administrative controls or both
  • Least effective because risk/exposure is not controlled at the source
  • For PPE guidance, see personal protective equipment