Lab Safety Orientation

Last Updated: 28-July-2011


All faculty, staff, students, and visitors working, studying and conducting research in laboratories at McGill University should be informed about their rights and responsibilities under Quebec’s Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety, of McGill’s health and safety policies and procedures, and of all job-specific health and safety training requirements and procedures.

To facilitate this, EHS has developed the Laboratory Safety Orientation Procedure below and accompanying PDF icon Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist. The use of this procedure and checklist is currently optional, but highly recommended.


Laboratory: Laboratory in this context refers to any teaching or research facility where chemical, biological, radioactive or other hazardous materials are used or stored, where hazardous instruments or equipment are used, or where hazardous processes (e.g., lasers) are performed. This does not apply to areas such as computer labs, language labs or music labs.

Laboratory Personnel: faculty, staff, students (undergraduate, graduate), postdoctoral fellows, visitors, volunteers and others regularly working, studying or conducting research in McGill University laboratories.

Laboratory Supervisor: Laboratory Supervisor refers to anyone who, as a function of his/her responsibilities, oversees a laboratory or other area where chemical, biological, radioactive or other hazardous materials are used and stored or where lasers or other hazardous equipment are used. This would include Lab Superintendents, Lab Managers, Principal Investigations and/or Research Directors.

Laboratory Safety Orientation

All Laboratory Personnel should be provided with a laboratory safety orientation that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Rights under the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety, with specific emphasis on:
    • Right to know about workplace hazards and controls;
    • Right to participate in decisions about their personal health and safety; and
    • Right to refuse unsafe work.
  • Emergency procedures;
  • Health and safety policies;
  • Accident, incident and occupational disease reporting procedures;
  • hazards/unsafe conditions reporting procedures;
  • Instruction on safe work practices and procedures required to work safely in the laboratory, work area, facility, or field research placement;
  • Description of existing hazards and what controls are in place; and
  • Personal protective equipment required to perform work safely.

Laboratory Supervisor Responsibility

Laboratory Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all their Laboratory Personnel receive a proper laboratory safety orientation prior to being to work in the laboratory.

Laboratory Personnel Responsibility

Laboratory Personnel are responsible from refrain from working in the laboratory prior to receiving safety training, as specified by their supervisor, and prior to receiving safety instructions.

Laboratory Personnel must comply with all health and safety policies and safe work practices explained to them, whether written or oral, when conducting laboratory work, study and/or research and must ensure that their safety training remains up-to-date.

Laboratory Safety Orientation Procedure

  1. Laboratory Supervisors (or delegate) complete Section 12: Safety Training Requirements of the Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist for each new Laboratory Personnel;
  2. Laboratory Personnel receives the Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist prior to starting their work, study and/or research and completes the form, attending the specified safety training;
  3. The signed Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist is returned to the Laboratory Supervisor within one month of the Laboratory Personnel’s arrival;
  4. Laboratory Supervisors review and sign the completed Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist, ensuring that all applicable material has been reviewed and safety trained attended;
  5. Once completed, the Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist should be retained by the Laboratory Supervisor for recordkeeping.


Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist

Department Safety Orientation

Some departments have developed department specific safety orientation session for their lab personnel that covers a large portion of the material required in the Laboratory Safety Orientation Checklist.

EHS tracks all health and safety training on campus, including department safety orientation sessions. To include your department’s safety orientation sessions in our training database, please submit copies of attendance records (e.g., sign-up sheet, attendance lists) to EHS by fax (514-398-8047) or ehs [at] (by email). By doing this, your department safety training will appear on the Supervisor’s Safety Training Lists which EHS can provide to all supervisors. To request your Safety Training Lists, which lists the safety training of all your lab personnel, ehs [at] (email your request to EHS).

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