Health & Safety

All new users of the autoclaves must be trained by Michael Arlt. Once training is complete it is added to the autoclave training record.

Autoclaves can be found in two areas in the Earth Sciences Centre:

Basement, Room B120
First Floor, Room ES1023A (Teaching)

For assistance, see Michael Arlt in room ES1023C

How do we autoclave garbage?

There are three autoclaves in the basement, each numbered individually. Autoclave#1 has been designated for autoclaving garbage. All other autoclaves in the department are NOT to be used for sterilizing garbage.

For all Bio Safety Level I labs in the building, when autoclaving garbage, use only clear autoclave bags with NO biohazard symbol on the bad to sterilize all biological material (i.e. petri plates, cultures, etc.).

  • Do not OVERFILL the bag. Leave enough room to close the bag in a safe manner.
  • Do not SEAL the bag tightly. Leave an opening to allow steam formed inside the bag to escape.
  • Place the autoclave bag in a tub, and only then start autoclaving. HOT MEDIA INSIDE THE AUTOCLAVE WILL PLUG-UP THE DRAIN.
  • The material coming out of the autoclave is VERY HOT. Use oven gloves to protect your hands.
  • Once the garbage has been autoclaved, let the material cool for several hours and then place the bag in a regular large garbage can.

For all Bio Safety Level II labs, garbage is autoclaved in bags printed with a biohazard symbol. After autoclaving, these bags are then brought back to the individual research labs, and placed in containers provided by the Environmental Protection Services at UofT. The containers are then picked up when the Environmental Protection Services is contacted by the lab.

How to autoclave and dispose of contaminated sharp materials?

Autoclave all sharp items such as contaminated broken glassware, pipettes, or razor blades in SEPARATE AUTOCLAVE BAGS. After autoclaving, dispose of the bags containing the sharps into one of the Lab Glass and Plastic Totes supplied by Recycling in your lab and the containers with blades and needles contact Environmental Protection Services (416-946-3473) for proper disposal.

The following is a set of guidelines to be followed to ensure a safe and
secure environment: general

  1. Ensure that all exterior doors are locked when you enter and leave the building after hours. Building hours are as follows: Monday to Thursday: 7:30am to 8:00pm; Friday: 7:30am to 6:00pm
  2. Do not leave a door propped open. If you find one, close it.
  3. Report all unlocked doors of faulting locking mechanism to the
    UofT Campus Police after hours. You can reach them at 416-978-2323.
  4. Do not let anyone you do not recognize as working in EEB into the building with you after hours.
  5. Report any suspicious looking/acting individuals roaming the building to the EEB administrative office, or call UofT Campus Police directly.
  6. Whenever possible, lock the door to your lab, group room, or office when you leave. If your door is equipped with a dead bolt, engage it using the door key when you leave. 
  7. Do not leave valuables, including laptops, lying around on your desk or lab bench. Keep them out of sight. Lock them away before you leave.
  8. Keep a record of serial numbers for computers and other valuable electronic equipment.
  9. Make sure your data is backed up elsewhere.
  10. Immediately report ALL lost or stolen door keys to EEB reception by email, in person, or by calling 416-978-8514.
  11. Do not, under any circumstance, lend your door keys to anyone, even if for a short period of time.

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DO return lost keys to room 3055.
DON'T let others borrow your keys.
DO lock your valuables in a desk or locker.
DON'T leave your personal items unattended.
DO fill out an accident report immediately after accidents/incidents occur.
DON'T work with dangerous or hazardous materials when alone.
DO call 416-978-3000 to report fume hood vent alerts, flooding, broken locks, or unusual smells.
DON'T work in a dangerous or unsafe work environment.
DO call 416-978-7000 to report major chemical spills or gas cylinder breaks.
DON'T try to tame a fire or clean up a chemical spill on your own.
DO call 416-978-2323 to report unlocked exterior building doors after hours or on weekends, and to report any other matters after regular building hours.
DON'T let strangers into the building with you after hours.
DO wear proper lab gear when working in the lab.
DON'T wear gloves outside of the lab, or transport chemicals in the passenger elevators.

Emergency Response Department
 Position  Contact  Telephone
Campus Police,   Non-Emergency
Campus Police, Emergency
Chemical Waste Management
Chemical Technician
Mario Reyes
Chemical Waste Management
Chemical & Biological Hazardous Material Technician -OR- Biosafety Officer
Aman Khan or Cynthia Thomas
Earth Sciences Building
Engineer Ken or Kent
416-978-5467 or 416-978-3590
Environmental Air Compliance
  Matthew White
Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Protection Manager
Rob Provost
HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials)
Radiation Services
Hazardous Materials Technician Luis Ponte or Peter Smith

In the Field poster 

Traveling Out-of-Province?

Students who have to travel outside the province or country
to do field research, attend a conference, or to participate in any
other university-related activity, must follow the requirements for Reasonable Care. To assess your risk and the precaution to be
undertaken regarding Health Insurance Coverage, consult the
application guidelines and Office of Environmental Health and
Safety's Safety in Field Research Policy.

There are three first aid stations in the EEB wing of the Earth Sciences Building. They are: 

First Aid Station
Second floor lounge, room ES2054
Trained First Aid Personnel: Tanja Vasic
Phone: 416-978-3331

First Aid Station
Third floor administrative office, room ES3055
Trained First Aid Personnel: Liz Rentzelos
Phone: 416-946-3340

First Aid Station
Fourth floor lounge, room ES4043
Trained First Aid Personnel: Cathy Guo
Phone: 416-978-0563

Click here to be redirected to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety Health and Safety Manual page.

Member Position Telephone Location
Diane Yeager
 Management Co-Chair   
Michael Arlt
 Worker Co-Chair
 416-978-6178  ESC
James Eckenwalder         Worker  416-978-3544  RW
Jenn English  Worker  416-946-0025  ESC
Bruce Hall
 Worker  416-946-8780  ESC
Liz Rentzelos
 Worker  416-946-3340  ESC
Rowan Sage
 Worker  416-978-7660  ESC


 Student Representative     
Bob Strome  Worker  416-978-5563  ESC
Tanja Vasic
 Worker  416-978-3331  ESC
Art Weis  Worker    ESC

For the purposes of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, all University employees are considered workers. This includes Faculty members, research, administrative and other support staff, and students, where they have been paid to perform work or supply services. The Act also defines a supervisor as anyone in charge of a workplace of with authority over a worker. Thus, faculty members or principal investigators who oversee a research project are also considered to be supervisors.

All workers have legal obligations under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act to ensure that all work, by anyone doing work in the Institute or directly related to the Institute, is conducted in a safe manner. The purpose of the Act is to protect workers from health and safety hazards in the workplace, and to establish procedures for dealing with hazards in the workplace.

This manual lists the Institute and University policies developed in response to the Act. The basis of the Act is that the employer must take every reasonable precaution to protect workers and workers (defined as Institute employees, all students being paid within the Institute, visiting researchers, or anyone else doing work in the Institute) are forbidden from disobeying safety regulations and from knowingly working in an unsafe manner. Fines and/or jail sentences may be (and have been) issued for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The University and its employees must also abide by a number of other federal, provincial, and municipal regulations related to the Occupational Health & Safety Act. These regulations include, but are not limited to, regulations governing the disposal of wastes, the handling of designated substances, the handling and disposal of radioactive or biohazardous materials, and transport and handling of dangerous goods.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are provided by suppliers when materials are first ordered. MSDS should be kept in the area the material is being used.

MSDS can also be found online:

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

UofT Environmental Health & Safety Hazardous Materials Information

For more information on MSDS content, click here.

When working alone, on weekends, evenings or nights, keep your office or lab door closed and locked. It is a good idea to let someone know that you intend to work late, alone. You should also let UofT Campus Police know what building and room you plan to work in.

WALKsmart offers a reliable and safe alternative to walking along on campus at night, from 7:30pm to 1:30am. WALKsmart provides escorts to walk you from one campus building to another, or to the nearest TTC stop or subway. You can contact WALKsmart by calling 416-978-SAFE (416-978-7233). If no one is available at this number, call UofT Campus Police at 416-978-2323.

The Workalone Program is available to all members of the community who work on campus during the quiet, and often scarce hours of the evening, weekends, and statutory holidays. University Campus Police will visit or telephone you during the period you plan on working for, to make sure you are safe. You can take advantage of this program by calling 416-978-2323. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday: 10:00pm to 7:00am; 24 hours during weekends and statutory holidays.

To take advantage of the Workalone Program, call the UofT Campus Police at 416-978-2323 to register and to provide them with necessary details. Services provided to registered participants include:

  • Having UofT Campus Police visit or telephone you during the after-hour period you request;
  • In the event of an emergency in your area, having UofT Campus Police contact you and advise you on the appropriate procedures to follow;
  • Having UofT Campus Police arrange for an escort to take you to your vehicle or the nearest TTC stop.

Traveling Abroad?
Does your research ever require you to travel abroad? UofT has a Safety in Field Research Policy that you should be aware of.

In addition, please draw your attention to the University of Toronto Guidelines for Safety in Field Research, developed by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, which compliments the policy and contains various forms to be completed prior to departure.

There is also a safety abroad website and an advisor who can provide information on any travel advisories that may be in effect at the time of your departure.

Emergency - Police/Fire/Medical emergency
Call 9-1-1 from an internal telephone line for immediate police, fire or medical response to preserve life or property. Report urgent matters (suspicious persons/trespassers) to UofT Campus Police by calling 416-978-2222. To contact UofT Campus Police on any non-urgent matter, call 416-978-2323 or visit their website.

Emergency Telephones are located throughout campus to keep you safe. A blue flashing light indicates the location of an emergency telephone. When the button is pressed, it dials directly into the UofT Campus Police dispatcher and the caller's location is displayed to the operator. There are several emergency telephone locations on campus. The nearest location to the Earth Sciences Building is opposite the Forestry doors at Willcocks Street in the courtyard.

Fire Evacuation
In the event of a fire, or when the alarm sounds, evacuate the building. Walk quickly to the nearest exit and alert others to do the same. If necessary, assist disabled persons in exiting the building. NEVER use the elevators. Be familiar with the stairwells nearest to your work location.

There are five (5) stairwells in the Earth Sciences Building. They are:

  1. North Huron Block stairwell at 25 Willcocks Street (Huron/Willcocks).
  2. North stairwell at 33 Willcocks Street (near the Faculty Club).
  3. South stairwell at 22 Russell Avenue (at the Department of Earth Sciences).
  4. Central stairwell at Bancroft Street (between EEB and Earth Sciences).
  5. Southwest stairwell at Bancroft Street on the Forestry side (near the GSU pub).

DO NOT return to an evacuated building unless directed to do so by the UofT Campus Police or Department staff.

Personal Property is not covered by UofT insurance. The University is not responsible for any damage or loss to your personal items.

Personal Information is for EEB employees, students and teaching assistants is available on our website. If you would prefer to limit the information available to others, please contact EEB reception.

These procedures outline the reporting requirements for accidents, incidents, and occupational illnesses which result in, or have the potential to result in, personal injury or property damage.

Reportable incidents are those which:

  • result in personal injury or lost time from work (including those requiring first aid, and occupational illness);
  • have the potential to result in personal injury or property damage even though no injury or damage actually occurred;
  • occur to any person on university premises;
  • occur to a university employee during the course of his/her work either on or off university premises;
  • occur to a student during the course of his/her classroom, laboratory or field work;
  • occur to a student during the course of a work placement (either paid or unpaid) which forms part of their university curriculum.
  • the above applies to incidents that occur outside of Ontario. If you will be working outside of Ontario for more than 6 months, you must contact Anne Chreptak at 416.978.8804 in Health & Well-being to extend your WSIB coverage.

The first step in reporting any and all accidents and incidents is to contact:

Diane Yeager
Chief Administrative Officer
Room: ES3055F
Phone: 416-978-6515

*Emails should have "Health & Safety Issue" in the subject line.

If Sally is unavailable, you can also direct issues to Genna or Stephanie at EEB reception by calling 416-978-8514, or visiting ES3055.

Reporting of Accidents/Incidents Involving Employees

The term "employee" refers to all full-time, part-time, sessional/seasonal employees, casual employees and graduate teaching assistants when they are performing their duties as teaching assistants.

On the day of the incident, the employer is responsible for providing and paying for immediate transportation to a hospital, health professional office/clinic or the worker's home (if necessary) and for paying for full wages and benefits for the day or shift on which the injury occured.

Within 24 hours, the supervisor must complete and submit the "Online Workplace Accident/Incident Report for Employees". Please ensure you have all of the required information available - the form has a time limit of 20 minutes. Where supervisors are unable to fully complete the form within 24 hours, the form, should still be sent, with the missing information to follow once obtained. Use “not available” for any information that is missing.

The completed form should be faxed to 416-971-3052 or hand delivered to:

Anne Chreptak
WSIB Administrator
Health and Well Being Programs and Services
263 McCaul Street, 2nd Floor

The WSIB Administrator in Health and Well Being is responsible for all liaison with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and for the ongoing follow-up of claims. For assistance or information with respect to any claim, contact Anne Chreptak at 416-978-8804.

Please note: The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board levies a fine of $250 for late reporting of lost time or a health care claim. Where this late reporting is a result of your failure, or your supervisor's failure to report the accident to the WSIB Administrator, Health and Well Being, you or your supervisor will be responsible for paying the fine. 

Reporting of Accidents/Incidents Involving Students

Students and visitors include all non-employees present or working in University workplaces. These include undergraduate students, graduate students (except when performing TA duties, in which case they are considered employees), visitors and members of the general public.

All non-employees involved in an incident/accident must report the event to a University of Toronto contact. Within 24 hours, the University of Toronto contact must complete and submit the Online Accident/Incident Report for Students, Contractors, and Visitors. Please ensure you have all the required information available - there is a time limit of 20 minutes set on the online form.

Reporting of Critical Injuries

A critical injury is one of a serious nature, which either places life in jeopardy, produces unconsciousness, results in substantial loss of blood, involves the fracture of a limb, involves the amputation of a limb, consists of major burns to the body of causes the loss of sight in a eye. Besides reporting to the University of Toronto Campus Police at 416-978-2222 and the University Safety Personnel, the Ministry of Labour must also be notified at 416-235-5330.

In addition to the above legal reporting requirements, the University requires the reporting of all accidents using the appropriate forms for any person, whether or not a personal injury occurs.

For more information regarding the reporting of accidents/incidents, visit the Office of Environmental Health and Safety Accident Reporting webpage.


All Teaching Assistants (TAs), technicians, and faculty must have prevention
WHMIS training prior to working in a laboratory, and must re-take WHMIS training every three years. All chemicals used in the laboratory must be accompanied by Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). These sheets should be kept in a place that is accessible to everyone in the lab.

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