Chemical Safety

Chemical safety is the application of the best practices for handling chemicals and chemistry processes to reduce exposures and minimize risk, whether to a person, facility, or community. It involves understanding the physical and health hazards of the chemicals used at work everyday.

VIU Chemical Safety Procedures

An inventory must be maintained which identifies all hazardous substances at the workplace in quantities that may endanger workers in an emergency including hazardous products covered by WHMIS, explosives, pesticides, radioactive materials, hazardous wastes, and consumer products.

(2) The inventory must identify the nature, location, and approximate quantity of all such substances, and the location of SDSs.

VIU Chemical Inventory Template

VIU subscribes to the Canadian Council for Occupational Health and Safety Academic Support Program (ASP). This program provides VIU employees and students with access to a comprehensive database of Safety Data Sheets.

Find Chemical Safety Data Sheets


In its purest form, formaldehyde is a colorless, highly toxic and flammable gas with a strong pungent odor. Formaldehyde has a pungent odour, and odour thresholds significantly vary. Do not rely on odour alone to determine potential hazardous exposure. However, it is most commonly used as an aqueous solution called formalin, which typically also contains some methanol as a stabilizer. Many laboratories at VIU use formalin solutions as part of their teaching and research activities. It is commonly used in tissue fixing and preservation, and as an organic chemical reagent.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a colorless liquid found in household and workplace products alike. Due to its high flammability and potential health hazards, it is important to handle isopropyl alcohol in a safe manner no matter what the setting. Flammable solvent vapors emitted by isopropyl alcohol can travel and produce fire and explosion upon contact with an ignition source or open flame.

Welding Gases and Fumes

The process of welding produces gases, vapours and dusts that can be hazardous if inhaled. The health risks are determined by length of exposure, the type of welding, the work environment and the PPE used. Exposure risks can be reduced using engineering controls such as mechanical or local exhaust ventilation.

Welding Gases Exposure Control Plan