General safety procedures

5.1 - Learning outcomes

  • Describe the general procedures for the safe, use, storage, handling and disposal of hazardous products
  • Describe how to identify the personal protective equipment needed by reading safety data sheets (SDSs)
  • Identify the engineering controls available to minimize exposure when working with hazardous products

5.2 - Storage and handling

Hazardous products have characteristics that require precautions be taken before working with them. The product SDS is the key to understanding a given product’s characteristics:

  • Storage: What products are incompatible with the product being stored? Under what conditions can it be stored with other products?
  • Handling: Is there any personal protective equipment that you must wear when working with the product? What hazard controls are required when working with this product?

Hazardous products in the same class will behave similarly; however, they do not all behave identically. Incompatibilities will be stronger or weaker, hazard levels will be higher or lower, and working procedures may differ greatly.

For example, household bleach (5% hypochlorite) and sulphuric acid are corrosive, but these two products are also incompatible. They will react together to release chlorine gas, which is toxic.

5.3 - Personal protective equipment (PPE)

uOttawa is committed to providing a healthy and safe work and learning environment for all of its employees, students and visitors. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is one way to protect yourself from hazards. However, PPE is the last line of defence. Before considering using personal protective equipment, other hazard controls, such as engineering controls and administrative controls as well as work practices and procedures must be evaluated and put in place whenever possible or practical.

What is personal protective equipment?

Personal protective equipment minimizes worker exposure to specific occupational hazards. PPE does not reduce the hazard itself nor does it guarantee permanent or total protection. Examples of PPE are respirators, gloves, aprons, fall protection equipment and eye and foot protection.

Do you know when you need it?

Using PPE is only one element in a complete safety program. Use of proper engineering controls, work procedures and training, in addition to PPE, will minimize exposure to workplace hazards.

It is not likely that office workers would require PPE while performing their usual tasks. However, if you’re uncertain whether you require PPE, please speak to your supervisor.

Where to get more information on PPE

Please consult the personal protective equipment guide (PDF, 969KB) for more detailed information on PPE requirements.

You can also consult the personal protective equipment fact sheet provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Do you know what equipment you need to wear?

This PPE presentation will help answer your questions.

Accessible learning experience.

5.4 - Engineering controls

ngineered hazard controls are the preferred hazard control. Were you aware that uOttawa has put different types of engineering controls in place in order to minimize exposure?

Discover controls you can put in place in a lab to minimize exposure to hazardous substances in in this interactive presentation on engineering controls.

Accessible learning experience.

5.5 - Disposal

How can you dispose of a product responsibly? uOttawa follows the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change requirements for storage and disposal of hazardous waste. The University’s hazardous waste management program is managed by the Office of the Chief Risk Officer in conjunction with representatives from the groups that generate the hazardous waste. Designated areas for hazardous waste collection and to temporarily store hazardous waste prior to disposal exist on campus. Any person handling hazardous waste must receive hands-on training from their supervisor (or other designated person or sector). Hazardous waste must be in a suitable closed container with a prominent label identifying its contents.

Visit the Office of the Chief Risk Officer site for more information on the hazardous waste program.

5.6 - Shipping hazardous products

Shipping hazardous products requires special paperwork and packaging as well as specific training. Shipping information for hazardous products is tightly controlled by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDG). At uOttawa, only persons with TDG training are authorized to prepare packages of dangerous goods for shipment. Transportation of dangerous goods training is a separate course offered by the Office of the Chief Risk Officer. Visit Transport Canada’s dangerous goods page for more information.

5.7 - SDS Analysis

Let’s look at using, handling, storing and disposing of hazardous products to better understand how to get the most out of SDSs. We will use sulfuric acid (PDF, 504KB) as the hazardous product in this section.

  • Section 5 – The risk of fire or explosion must be outlined. All by-products of combustion will be mentioned. This information is essential for first responders.
  • Section 8 – This section will include occupational exposure guidelines or biological exposure limits and the source of those values, appropriate engineering controls and individual protection measures (e.g. personal protective equipment).
  • Section 9 – This section is usually straightforward. In our example, sulphuric acid >51%, it is clear, liquid, more dense than water, very acidic, not very volatile and easily frozen.
  • Section 10 – This section will influence how you store and use a hazardous product. The requirements include conditions under which the product is incompatible, substances that are incompatible, and conditions of reactivity and hazardous products of decomposition.

5.8 - Exercise 1

What type of personal protective equipment should be worn during a lab activity dealing with sulfuric acid? Note that sulfuric acid is highly corrosive.

Accessible learning experience.

5.9 - Storing hazardous products

A supplier has sent several products from a back order. The products must be safely stored in order to minimize the hazards in his workplace. After consulting the SDS for each product, drag the each of the hazardous products into the appropriate cabinet.

Accessible learning experience.

5.10 - Working with hazardous products

WHMIS 2015 - Module 5.10 - Test Your Knowledge