Frequently Asked Questions about EHS

 > Environmental Health and Safety > Resources > Frequently Asked Questions about EHS

FAQ

Page Contents

Biosafety
Environmental Protection
Occupational Hygiene and Safety
Radiation





Biosafety

  1. I only work with animal cell lines. Do I need a Biosafety certificate?

    Answer: 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.

  2.  I only work with human blood and bodily fluids. Do I need a Biosafety certificate?

    Answer: Yes. Working with human blood or bodily fluids requires a level two Biosafety certificate. 

  3.  I am not sure if I need to have a Biosafety certificate. Where and how could I find out?

    Answer: You could contact your Biosafety coordinator or Biosafety officer to verify (416-978-3981).



Environmental Protection

Chemical Waste

  1. Who do I contact for chemical waste disposal?

Answer: The Environmental Health and Safety website provides information on contacts for chemical waste disposal ( http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/services/environmental.htm). Over the phone call 416-978-7000 for information and 416-978-4821 to schedule a Chemical Waste pickup.

  1. Is my chemical waste picked up from my lab?

Answer: Some buildings on campus, like 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.

  1. Where do I get more chemical waste labels?

Answer: There should be a supply of labels in any central chemical waste storage facility but if you don’t have a central storage area call either 416-978-7000 or 416-978-4821 to ask for some. If you need that immediately you can stop by the EHS office at 215 Huron on the 7th floor to get some.

  1. I have waste but a couple containers are unknowns?

Answer: Not a problem, label the containers with the properly labels and fill in all the information. Where is asks for List of Chemicals write ‘Unknowns’ If you believe it might be something write that below unknowns. A couple times a year we have the chemical waste contractor on campus to test unknowns to determine how they can be shipped out properly.

  1. There isn’t enough room for me to list all the chemicals in the space on the waste labels?

Answer: If your waste contains more chemicals than the labels have room for just write down the ones with the largest volume and the ones that cause the most hazard.

Radiation Waste

  1. Why was my radioactive waste not picked up?

Answer: There are several reasons why waste is not picked up but most include problem associated with the waste. Things like Tags not 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 978-2050 to ask.

  1. How do I dispose of radioactive sharps?

Answer: 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.

  1. How do I dispose of a solution of mixed isotopes?

Answer: Pour off the liquid into a liquid waste container with Radsorb but make sure you pour into the right container. Use a container that meets the requirement for the longest half-life of the isotopes (http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/resources/wmindex/wm5_3.htm )

  1. How do I dispose of my plastic or lead pigs?

Answer: 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

1. Who do I contact if I have a health and safety question or concern?

2. What health and safety rights do I have as an employee?

3. What are my health and safety responsibilities as an employee?

4. What are my health and safety responsibilities as a supervisor?

5. Where can I find information on the University of Toronto health and safety Policy, programs, procedures and standards?

6. Will I be required to wear personal protective safety equipment on the job? Will I receive training on how to use it?

7. How will I know what types of hazards are present in my workplace?

8. Does the University of Toronto have a Health and Safety Policy?

9. How can I get a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)?

TRAINING

1. Will I receive job safety training?

2. Who will decide what training I will need?

3. How do I sign up for training?

4. Do I need to take any refresher training?

5. What health and safety training courses are available?

6. Is health and safety training tracked/logged for supervisors and employees?

FIRST AID

1. How do I find out who the trained first aider is for my work area?

2. Where can I go for first aid training?

3. Who ensures that the first aid kit is full?

4. Where is the first aid station located in my area?

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

1. Who do I call in case of an emergency?

2. What do I do in case of a fire?

3. Are fire drills regularly scheduled?

ACCIDENT REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION

1. What do I do if I get hurt on the job?

2. Who investigates the accident?

3. Who is responsible for liaison with WSIB?

4. Who is responsible to make sure that proper actions are taken to correct the problem?

JOINT HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES (JHSC’s)

1. What is a joint health and safety committee (JHSC)?

2. What are the functions of the committee?

3. How do I find which committee represents my workplace?

4. How can I become a member on a committee?

SAFE AND HEALTHY WORKPLACE

1. If the temperature is too high or too low in my office, what should I do?

2. Is there a legal minimum or maximum temperature?

3. If I have concerns about air quality in my work area, what should I do?

OTHER USEFUL LINKS FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION

Environmental Health and Safety Online Training

Instructions on Accessing Online WHMIS Training

Environmental Protection Services (EPS) - Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Biosafety - Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Radiation Safety - Office of Environmental Health and 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.

· After speaking to your supervisor, if you require more assistance, you can contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at 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. The 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 chemical safety training.

· The 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).

· The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work: If you believe your work poses a risk to the health or safety of yourself or another individual, you may refuse to carry out the task. For information about the University of Toronto Work Refusal process, please click here.

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.

· You are required to use or wear personal protective equipment (PPE), devices or clothing as required.

· You are required to report any workplace hazard or defective equipment or protective devices to your supervisor.

· You should NOT work or operate equipment in a manner that could be harmful to yourself or others.

· You should NOT remove or make ineffective any protective devices as required.

· You should NOT engage in any prank, contest, feat of strength, unnecessary running or rough and boisterous conduct.

· You are required to report any accidents or near misses to your supervisor.

· You are required to report any known contravention of the Act or regulations to your supervisor.

· 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”.

· You must ensure that workers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations.

· You are required to ensure that employees wear any required PPE, devices or clothing.

· You are required to 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 instruction 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.

Where can I find information on the University of Toronto health and safety Policy, programs, standards and procedures?

An excellent starting point would be the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) website.

Will I be required to wear personal protective safety equipment on the job?

You may be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job.

Will I receive training on how to use it?

You should receive training in the proper use and care of your PPE. Your supervisor will either give you instruction personally, or will arrange for you to be trained through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Further details on various University of Toronto PPE Standards are found in the Health and Safety Manual.

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.

Does the University of Toronto have a Health and Safety Policy?

Yes, the University of Toronto has a Health and Safety Policy. The OHSA requires that all employers prepare a written policy and post it in a conspicuous location at the workplace.

How can I get a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)?

A copy of the Act can be obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Labour website. A user- friendly explanation of the Act is also available through the Ministry of Labour - Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

TRAINING

Will I receive job safety training?

Safety training will be provided to employees who perform work associated with specific potential health and safety hazards (i.e. lasers, radioactive sources, asbestos, confined space, chemicals, machinery, working at heights etc.).

Who will decide what training I will need?

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. There are also general safety courses that any employee can attend. Please consult the Office of Environmental Health and Safety website for schedules and details of health and safety training courses.

How do I sign up for training?

Registration for health and safety courses is done online through the Express Registration system.

Do I need to take any refresher training?

Refresher training will only be necessary for specific courses (i.e. Emergency First Aid, Radiation Protection, etc.). Your supervisor or manager should notify you if you need to complete any refresher training.

What health and safety training courses are available?

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) offers training in many specific topic areas including Asbestos, Biosafety, First Aid, Office Ergonomics, Laser Safety, Noise, Radiation Safety, and WHMIS. For a complete list of currently available Health and Safety Training Courses, please visit our website.

Is Health and Safety training tracked for supervisors and employees?

You can view your own or your employee’s registration and training records by visiting the EHS training page. By clicking the Health and Safety Online Registration for Courses link, you will be able to view your registrations or your training record. To view your records, you must input your personnel number and personal identifier (birth date).

FIRST AID

How do I find out who the trained first aider is for my work area?

A list of certified first aiders in your work area should be posted near the first aid kit as part of the “First Aid Station”. Please consult the EHS website for further details on the provision of first aid facilities.

Where can I go for first aid training?

Our office coordinates Standard First Aid courses throughout the year for employees who would like to become designated first aider(s) for their workplace as defined under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. . Individuals must be responsible for a first aid station to attend the training free of charge. For more information on the First Aid Program, visit our website.

Who ensures that the first aid kit is full?

The Department/Division is responsible for ensuring that first aid facilities are provided as required. Trained first aiders assigned to first aid stations are required to conduct inspections every 3 months to ensure that first aid supplies are provided and maintained. When supplies are needed, the first aider should notify their manager.

Where is the first aid station located in my area?

First aid stations are located in each building based on the type of work being done and the occupancy / distribution of employees in each department. Your supervisor can provide you with the location of first aid stations in your work area.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Who do I call in case of an emergency?

In case of emergency call:

St. George 9-911 and (416) 978-2222

UTSC 9-911 and (416) 287-7333

UTM 9-911 and (905) 569-4333

Once an immediate response is underway, call your supervisor or designated alternative and advise him/her of the situation. If the supervisor or designated alternative is not available, call his/her supervisor.

What do I do in case of a fire?

For St. George, follow the fire emergency procedures and call:

9-911 and (416) 978-2222

For UTSC call: 9-911 and (416) 287-7333

For UTM call: 9-911 and (905) 569-4333

Once an immediate response is underway, call your supervisor or designated alternative and advise him/her of the situation. If the supervisor or designated alternative is not available, call his/her supervisor.

Are fire drills regularly scheduled?

Yes. As per the University’s Policy on Crisis Preparedness and Response, fire drills are regularly scheduled. Advance notice to the University community is provided.

ACCIDENT REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION

What do I do if I get hurt on the job?

As an employee, if you are injured or become ill as a result of your work, you must report the incident to your supervisor, who must subsequently complete the University of Toronto Accident/Incident Report Form. This online e-form must be completed as soon as possible after the event. Before completing the form, the supervisor should have all the details of the accident available to them because the electronic session has a time limit of 20 minutes per page. For details on completing the form and the accident reporting procedure, please visit our accident reporting page.

There is also a paper form of the University "Accident/Incident/Occupational Disease Report". This form can be completed and faxed (416- 971-3052) to: WSIB Administrator, Health and Well-being Programs and Services, 263 McCaul St., 2nd Floor.

Where supervisors are unable to fully complete the form within 24 hours, the form, with as much information as is available at the time, should still be sent, with the remaining information to follow later.

Accidents involving students, contractors or visitors are to be reported on the “University of Toronto Student/Contractor/Visitor Incident Report Form”. Accidents to non-employees must also be reported on the "University of Toronto Risk Management and Insurance Report" and faxed to Insurance and Risk Management at 416-971-3061 and Environmental Health and Safety at 416-971-1361.

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 Section 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 to make sure that 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 and for the ongoing follow up of claims.

JOINT HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES (JHSC’s)

What is a joint health and safety committee (JHSC)?

The JHSC is an advisory body required under the Act. It is comprised of both worker members and management members who meet at least every 3 months to discuss health and safety issues in the workplace. The powers of the committee are:

· Identifying Workplace Hazards – The main purpose of the committee is to identify hazards, such as machinery, processes, working conditions, substances, procedures or any other potential hazards that could endanger the health and safety of workers.

· Obtain Information from the Employer – This includes obtaining information about any actual or potential hazard in the workplace and any testing being carried out for occupational health and safety purposes. It also includes obtaining information about the health and safety experience, standards or work practices at other workplaces.

· Make Recommendations to the Employer – The committee can make recommendations to the employer or the workers on ways to improve workplace health and safety.

· Investigate Work Refusals – The committee members representing the workers must designate one member to be present at the investigation of a work refusal.

· Investigate Serious Injuries – For critical and fatal injuries the committee members representing the workers must designate one or more members to conduct an investigation (see Who investigates the accident? above).

· Obtain Information from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board – At the committee’s request, the WSIB must provide a summary of information relating to the workplace. This summary would include claims information on the number of injuries, fatalities, incidences of illness, number of lost-time injuries and lost workdays, and number of injuries requiring medical aid without the loss of workdays.

Full details are available at The Powers of the JHSC as described in Ontario Ministry of Labour - Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The JHSC has co-chairs, one who represents management, while the other represents workers. At least one worker and one management person on a JHSC must be “Certified”. The certification is obtained in two (2) parts. Individuals interested in Certification should contact the EHS for details. Further information on joint health and safety committees can be obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Labour website. A user-friendly explanation of the JHSCs is also available through the Ministry of Labour – A Guide for Joint Health and Safety Committees and Representatives in the Workplace.

What are the functions of the committee?

The JHSC meets regularly to discuss health and safety concerns, identify workplace hazards, make recommendations to management about health and safety improvements, conduct regular workplace inspections, and investigate serious accidents and work refusals.

How do I find which committee represents my workplace?

The JHSC that represents you may be based on the Union that you are member of, your workplace or your department. A complete list of Joint Health and Safety Committees is available on the Office of Environmental Health and Safety website.

How can I become a member on a committee?

Worker members will be put forth by the union or employee group representing the operations of the workplace. Interested individuals should talk to their union, employee group or co-chairs. Management members are appointed by management.

SAFE AND HEALTHY WORKPLACE

If the temperature is too high or too low in my office, what should I do?

As with any health and safety issue, you should talk to your supervisor first. S/he will investigate and may contact building staff (below).

For any issue regarding temperature of your office space call:

Downtown Campus (416) 978-3000

UTSC (416) 287-7579

UTM (905) 828-5301

Is there a legal minimum or maximum temperature?

The Industrial Regulation (851) made under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that the temperature of an enclosed workplace should be suitable for the type of work performed and not be less than 18° Celsius.

If I have a concern about a strange odour or air quality in my work area, what should I do?

You should raise any indoor air quality concerns with your supervisor first. The supervisor may contact the property manager or other building staff at the numbers above or they may call the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (416-978-8787) for assistance.



Radiation

1)  I want to work with radioactive materials. What do I need?

Answer: To possess, work, store or dispose of radioactive materials you need a radioisotope permit and radiation safety training

2)  I need to use an x-ray machine. What do I need?

Answer: To posses an X-ray machine you need an x-ray safety permit. To work with an x-ray machine you need x-ray safety training

3)  I need to use a laser in my experiments. What do I need?

Answer: To posses 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 go at: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/services/radiation.htm.