• I only work with animal cell lines. Do I need a Biosafety certificate?
    Yes. If it is a non-primate animal cell line, you would need a level one Biosafety certificate. If it is a primate cell line, then you need to have a level two Biosafety certificate.
  • I am not sure if I need to have a Biosafety certificate. Where and how could I find out?
    You could contact your Biosafety Coordinator or Biosafety Officer to verify (416.978.3981).
  • I only work with human blood and bodily fluids. Do I need a Biosafety certificate?
    Yes. Working with human blood or bodily fluids requires a level two Biosafety certificate.

Environmental Protection

Chemical Waste

  • Who do I contact for chemical waste disposal?
    The Environmental Protection Services website provides information on contacts for chemical waste disposal. Call 416.978.7000 for information. To schedule a chemical waste pickup, call 416.946.3473.
  • Is my chemical waste picked up from my lab?
    Some buildings on campus (e.g., MSB, Walberg, ESC and Dentistry), have a central chemical waste storage area for you to drop your labeled and sealed containers of chemical waste. If you are in a building without a central area, the chemical technician will stop by your lab to collect the waste. Please have it identified as chemical waste for disposal in case you are away when we arrive for the pickup.
  • Where do I get more chemical waste labels?
    There should be a supply of labels in any central chemical waste storage facility. If you don’t have a central storage area, call either 416.978.7000 or 416.946.3473 to ask for some. If you need chemical waste labels immediately, you can stop by the EHS Office.
  • I have waste but a couple containers are unknowns?
    Not a problem. Label the containers with the proper labels and fill in all the information. Where it asks for List of Chemicals write ‘Unknowns’. If you believe it might be something, write that below ‘unknowns’. A couple of times a year, we will have the chemical waste contractor on campus to test unknowns to determine how they can be shipped out properly.
  • There isn’t enough room for me to list all the chemicals in the space on the waste labels?
    If your waste contains more chemicals than the labels have room for, simply write down the ones with the largest volume and the ones that cause the most hazard.

Radiation Waste

  • Why was my radioactive waste not picked up?
    There are several reasons why waste is not picked up, but most of the time, it is a problem associated with the waste. Things like tags not being completely filled out, jars not full, bio bags in the solid waste container, or not an area on a regular pickup, need to call for service. If ever your waste isn’t picked up and you want to ask why contact the Radiation Techs at 978.4821 to ask.
  • How do I dispose of radioactive sharps?
    Either put the sharps in an appropriate sharp container or in a cardboard box sealed with red tape and label as sharps then place it beside the solid waste container.
  • How do I dispose of a solution of mixed isotopes?
    Pour off the liquid into a liquid waste container with Radsorb but make sure you pour into the correct container. Use a container that meets the requirement for the longest half-life of the isotopes (https://ehs.utoronto.ca/laboratory-hazardous-waste-management-and-disposal-manual/radioactive-waste-disposal/)
  • How do I dispose of my plastic or lead pigs?
    Swipe the pigs for loose contamination, if none is present place plastic pigs in regular garbage after removing any radiation labels and lead pigs in cardboard box beside solid waste container. If the swipe comes back contaminated place pig in the solid waste container.

Occupational Hygiene and Safety

General Safety

Who do I contact if I have a health and safety question or concern?
The first point of contact for any health and safety concern or question is your supervisor. If after speaking to your supervisor you require more assistance, you can contact Environmental Health and Safety (ehs.office@utoronto.ca, 416.978.6641), or your Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).

What health and safety rights do I have as an employee?
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA or Act) gives three basic rights to workers: The Right to Know, The Right to Participate, and The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work.

  • Right to Know: You have the right to know about any potential hazards in your workplace to which you may be exposed. The right to know includes the right to safety training, for example, WHMIS and Lab Safety training.
  • Right to Participate: You have the right to participate in the process of identifying and resolving workplace health and safety concerns, on an individual basis or through the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).
  • Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: If you believe your work poses a risk to the health or safety of yourself or another individual, report the condition to your supervisor/manager. The supervisor/manager is responsible for assessing the hazard, and where applicable, implementing controls to address the hazard in a timely manner. In the vast majority of situations, the supervisor/manager will be able to resolve the issue without the need for the worker to refuse. For information about the University of Toronto Work Refusal process, please contact EHS (ehs.office@utoronto.ca).

What are my health and safety responsibilities as an employee?
You are required to:
– Work in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations.
– Use or wear personal protective equipment (PPE), devices or clothing as required.
– Report any workplace hazard or defective equipment or protective devices to your supervisor.
– Report any accidents or near misses to your supervisor.
– Report any known contravention of the Act or regulations to your supervisor.

You should NOT:
– Work or operate equipment in a manner that could be harmful to yourself or others.
– Remove or make ineffective any protective devices as required.
– Engage in any prank, contest, feat of strength, unnecessary running or rough and boisterous conduct.

Further information is available at Duties of Employers and Other Persons as described in Ontario Ministry of Labour – Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

What are my health and safety responsibilities as a supervisor?
You are required to:
– “Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”.
– Ensure that employees comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations.
– Ensure that employees wear any required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), devices or clothing.
– Understand the hazards associated with the worker’s job, and “advise a worker of any potential or actual health or safety dangers known”.
– If prescribed, you are required to provide written instructions about the measures and procedures to be taken for the worker’s protection.

Further information is available at Duties of Employers and Other Persons as described in Ontario Ministry of Labour – Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

How will I know what types of hazards are present in my workplace?
Your Supervisor is responsible for informing you about the hazards in your workplace, and must provide or arrange instruction and/or training about how to safely deal with those hazards.


What health and safety training do I need?
All employees all required to take the Basic Health and Safety Awareness Training. This includes staff, faculty, casual and seasonal employees.

  • Your supervisor will tell you what training courses you need to attend. This will be mainly determined by the type of work you will be doing.
  • EHS has developed training matrices for laboratory and administrative/facilities staff to assist department supervisors and managers. Some courses may require refresher training. This information is contained in the matrices.
  • Your department management is also responsible for providing you with in-person, job-specific training. This may include training on a work procedure, training on how to use certain pieces of equipment, or how to use engineering controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) specific to your job.

Where do I find my training record?
All courses offered by EHS (in-class) or online through Quercus can be viewed on the My EHS Training website. Training records from Quercus are periodically transferred to My EHS Training. Keep a copy of any quizzes you have completed in Quercus until your My EHS Training record is updated. It is not necessary to send a copy to EHS anymore.

  • Department management/supervisors are responsible for keeping a record of training that takes place within the department. Information that should be recorded are: name of training, training instructor, date, name and signature of participants. A copy of the training content should be kept by the department. EHS has two sample templates available: Training Record by Class (DOCX) or by Training Record by Person (DOCX).

Accident Reporting and Investigation

What do I do if I get hurt on the job?
All incidents must be reported within 24 hours to your supervisor (for employees) or a UofT representative (for students, visitors, contractors and any other non-employees).

  • Supervisors or UofT representatives must completed the appropriate employee or non-employee form within 24 hrs. If not all information is available at the time of submission, the forms should still be submitted. EHS will contact the supervisor or UofT representative when the form is received and additional information can be added later on.

Who investigates the accident?
Supervisors have a duty to investigate all accidents/incidents which occur in their areas or among their staff. In cases where a worker is killed or critically injured at a workplace from any cause, the worker members of the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) shall designate at least one worker member to investigate. The Occupational Hygiene and Safety Group of EHS must be notified immediately 416.978.4467 so we can notify the Ministry of Labour as required and also to assist in the accident investigation process.

Who is responsible for ensuring proper actions are taken to correct the problem?
Supervisors and managers are responsibility for implementing corrective action.

Who is responsible for liaison with WSIB?
The WSIB Administrator in Health and Well-being is responsible for all liaisons with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.


  • I want to work with radioactive materials. What do I need?
    To possess, work, store or dispose of radioactive materials you need a radioisotope permit and radiation safety training;
  • I need to use an x-ray machine. What do I need?
    To possess an X-ray machine, you need an X-ray safety permit. To work with an X-ray machine, you need X-ray safety training.
  • I need to use a laser in my experiments. What do I need?
    To possess a class 3B (medium power) or class 4 (high power) laser, you need a laser safety permit. To work with an open beam class 3B or class 4 laser, you need laser safety training. To learn more about usage of radioactive materials, X-ray machines, lasers and other devices that can generate UV light, electric and magnetic fields, please visit: https://ehs.utoronto.ca/radiation-safety-materials/