Health & Safety



Contact info

Frequently asked questions

Q1. Whom do I contact for a key card request?
All requests must be made through the departmental secretary, who will fill in the request form.  It may take up to three business days to get the key card activated. For those that do not belong to a department, please fill up the card programming form to make a request.

Q2. How do I register for online WHMIS Training or Laboratory Safety Training if I am not a student or an employee?
Register online and sign up as ‘other’ (guest). Please note that registering as “other” will take the same amount of time as waiting for your student or employee account.

Q3. I have completed WHMIS (office/lab) training at my previous job. Do I need to retake it?
Yes. All employees at the University of Ottawa must complete WHMIS (office/lab) training, regardless of their previous employment as WHMIS training is employer specific.

Q4. I am not able to sign up as a guest for the online WHMIS Training or the Laboratory Safety Training. What should I do?
If you have filled the registration form and have not received an activation email, you may submit a request to the Service Desk.

Q5. Do I need liability insurance to work in the U of O as a visiting professor/researcher?
Yes. Liability insurance protects you financially in case a civil suit is filed. Your home institution should have liability insurance and this should extend to your visit to uOttawa. If your home institution does not cover you, the coverage should be obtained from an alternative source. Should you be unable to obtain this coverage, you may contact the health, safety and risk manager.

Q6. What steps must I take if I want a volunteer in my lab/office?
As the Principal Investigator or supervisor, you must inform the Health, Safety and Risk Manager of the volunteer’s start date and end date as well as any risks involved in the volunteer’s work. This must be done before the volunteer starts working in the lab/office. The volunteer must complete all the applicable training and meet with the health, safety and risk manager to sign a waiver.

Q7. Why is my lab being inspected?
It is a regulatory requirement. As per the Occupational Health and Safety Act, ‘the health and safety representative shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a year’ R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 8 (7).

Q8. Log in questions/concerns for Vertére.
Check with your lab to see if they already have a login for the lab. If not, contact Vertére administrator by email or by phone at 613-562-5800 ext. 1983.

Q9. I have a stock solution. Should it be barcoded?
No. If the chemical is a stock solution, it does not need to be barcoded. Note however that if it is a commercial chemical (bought from a supplier) it must be barcoded. If that is not the case, take it down to the Science Store so a barcode can be placed.

Q10. Where can I get the U of O hazard label?
The uOttawa hazard label may be procured from Science Stores.

Q11. How do I dispose broken glass (non-biohazardous and non-contaminated)?
Please place non-contaminated broken glass inside the cardboard with a plastic liner. When the container is full, please close it, tape it and label it with the Waste label. Place the box near the entrance inside the lab and it will be picked-up by housekeeping during their regularly scheduled visit. If the box is not being picked-up, send an email to our facilities team or to our health, safety and risk team.

Q12. How do I get rid of a broken mercury thermometer?
If you have a broken mercury thermometer, please include it in the Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form after you have packaged it properly. Training on mercury spill response may be obtained upon request. 

Q13. What do I do if I need to dispose of chemicals in their original container?
Fill in a Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form. If all the chemicals in the lab need to be disposed, the principal investigator should contact the health, safety and risk manager.

Q14. Do I need special training if I use solvent stills in my lab?
Yes. Follow this link Solvent Still Safety and contact the health, safety and risk manager.

Q15. I found an unlabeled chemical in my lab. How do I proceed?
Ask everyone in the lab about the nature of the chemical. If no one can identify it, please contact the HSR Manager and include it in the Chemical Waste Pick Up Request Form.

Q16. My spill kit has been used/opened. Whom do I contact to have it replaced?
If you have used your spill kit on a chemical spill, please fill-out an incident report. To have the spill kit replenished, please contact us via email.

Q17. I am ready to dispose of a chemical container that was bought through Science Store. What should I do with the inventory barcode on this container?
The barcode must be removed from the container and placed on the disposed barcode sheet, which you can get from Science Store. This sheet will subsequently have to be brought to Science Store once it is full so that the disposed chemicals may be removed from the inventory on Vertére.

Q18. I do not see my name on my WHMIS training certificate. What do I do?
Create a service desk request with IT Services explaining the problem. Be sure to include your first name, last name, and student number.

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