Lab safety

Laboratory safety programs apply across many, if not all, campus laboratories. They are developed to ensure the health and safety of university members and to ensure regulatory compliance. The programs also set out the university's program-specific requirements as well as support education and training. The SFU Laboratory safety manual assembles key information from the SFU Laboratory safety program in a single document.

Transport on campus

Moving hazardous materials between labs or between Science stores and a laboratory requires a few basic precautions. A spill during transport can affect the person doing the transporting and others in the vicinity, and can present challenges for cleanup. See Safe hazardous material transport on campus.

For guidance specific to biological materials, see Transport of biological materials.

Transport off campus

As per the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Act and Regulations, faculty, staff and students at SFU involved with the transport or transport-related handling of regulated dangerous goods must have valid training certification. For full details, refer to the federal TDG Program.

The Guide to Transportation of Dangerous Goods is available for trained faculty, staff and students. For movement of dangerous goods exempted from the training requirement, individuals may use the guide for information but must also contact a TDG-certified individual for assistance.

Does TDG apply?

To determine whether a product is subject to TDG, check the product's Safety Data Sheet under Section 14, Transport information. Products subject to TDG will have an associated “UN number” such as UN1013 for Carbon dioxide gas.

A TDG package will display distinctive labels associated with one or more of the 9 TDG classes. See Appendix A in the Guide to Transportation of Dangerous Goods for labels associated with each class. These are listed below:

  • Class 1 – Explosives
  • Class 2 – Gases
  • Class 3 – Flammable liquids
  • Class 4 – Flammable solids, Spontaneously combustible, Dangerous when wet
  • Class 5 – Oxidizing substances and Organic peroxides
  • Class 6 – Toxic and Infectious substances
  • Class 7 – Radioactive materials
  • Class 8 – Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 – Miscellaneous products, substances or organisms

Dangerous goods are solids, liquids or gases that are capable of posing a significant risk to people, health, property or the environment when transported in quantity. Examples include corrosives, flammables, toxics, oxidizers, compressed gases, infectious materials and/or radioactive materials.

Receiving dangerous goods

Class 7 Radioactive materials must be received by EHS Radiation Safety personnel.

For all other dangerous goods, faculties and departments should have a designated receiver. Goods destined for the Faculty of Science must pass through Burnaby campus Science Receiving.

If you are receiving shipments, you do not require the valid TDG training certificate unless you are receiving imported shipments. However, you must complete the SFU TDG Awareness Training course as well as all other relevant workplace safety training (e.g., WHMIS 2015) for the dangerous goods you expect to receive. See Training for details.

Shipping dangerous goods

For shipment of Class 7 Radioactive materials, contact EHS Radiation Safety personnel.

If you do not have certification yourself, you must contact a TDG-certified individual for assistance. Many departments have a designated, certified staff member who will act as shipper or oversee the shipping process. If unsure who to contact in your department, contact EHS.

Note: EHS recommends using a dangerous goods courier rather than transporting materials yourself. However, if you plan to transport dangerous goods in a University or your own vehicle, contact EHS.


EHS periodically hosts TDG certification training open to SFU faculty, staff and students involved in the transport and transport-related handling of dangerous goods. See Training.