A message from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)


Published: 30Mar2020

March 30, 2020

Good day everyone,

The staff at Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) would like to take this opportunity to send everyone well wishes during this unprecedented global crisis. We would like to thank you for the sacrifices you have made to help to “flatten the curve” so that everyone can resume their normal activities, including the very important research that happens at McGill, as soon as possible.

For those of you whose laboratory research activities have been limited or shut down, we encourage you to take some time to review the safety practices in your labs. Here are a few ideas of safety-related administrative tasks that can be completed even if you are away from the laboratory:

  • Standard Operating Procedures: Did you know that if you are working with human or animal pathogens, your lab must follow established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)? SOPs are an important tool to ensure that everyone knows how to safely work with a hazardous material or to operate a piece of laboratory equipment. To develop your own SOP, consult the EHS website for a template.
  • Laboratory Safety: EHS has developed safety programs for many types of hazards (chemical, biohazard, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation), found in the laboratory. Please take the time to ensure that the information you have provided to EHS is up to date, including informing us whether you added new people or materials in your lab. All the information on our safety programs is available on our website.
  • Laser Safety: Did you know that we have a new Laser Safety Officer who is busy updating our program and wants to know what kind of lasers you are using? Please consult our Laser Registration page, and feel free to contact Megan Smith (megan.smith [at] mcgill.ca) if you have any questions.
  • MyLab: Some people have asked if myLab is working. Yes, myLab is running well. MyLab is a secured site therefore if you are not on a McGill IP address you need to access it through VPN. Researchers still have access to their chemical and radioisotope inventories, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), inspection reports, etc.
  • Follow-up on Lab Safety Inspections: Has EHS visited your lab recently for a lab safety inspection? Are we still waiting for your response to any items of non-compliance reported in your inspection? Inspection results are available through myLab and responses should be entered in myLab.
  • Online EHS Safety Training: EHS safety trainings need to be refreshed every 3 years. We offer trainings in WHMIS, Biosafety, Radiation and Laser Safety. Although in person trainings are cancelled until further notice, many of our exams can be completed online. If your safety training has expired or will expire soon, please visit the EHS website to register for a refresher. If you are unsure and if you need the training feel free to contact us at ehs [at] mcgill.ca.

While most research activities at McGill are suspended, a few people still have authorization to access certain laboratories to ensure necessary services are maintained. A few reminders for research personnel who are authorized to be onsite:

  • Please take a moment to ensure that sensitive equipment and materials (e.g. fridges, freezers, incubators, fume hoods, biological safety cabinets, vacuum pumps, electrical/heating equipment, gas cylinders and generators) are still functioning and that experiments are not left unattended.
  • If you are working alone, advise McGill Security Services.
  • Check that hazardous materials are used only in the proper areas of the lab. After you are finished with them, ensure that they are stored in the appropriate storage areas. All generated hazardous waste should be placed in the waste containers found in the lab or moved to the building waste rooms.
  • Finally, when you leave the lab, please make sure:
    • Any non-essential electric equipment is unplugged;
    • Any heating equipment is off;
    • The lab door is closed and locked.

EHS personnel are working from home. However, if you have any issues and/or questions do not hesitate to email us at ehs [at] mcgill.ca. The mailbox will be monitored daily during the work week.

For an emergency that requires immediate attention (i.e. workplace accident, hazardous material spill, equipment alarm, gas leak, etc.), contact 514-398-3000.

Stay safe, wash your hands, practice social distancing, spend time with family and friends, and come back ready to resume your regular activities.


Your EHS Team


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