Important Health and Safety Information

Supervisors and Workers

The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario provides definitions of the various categories of people in the workplace and assigns specific duties and responsibilities to them.

Who is a Supervisor?

A supervisor is anyone who has either charge of a workplace or authority over a worker.

This broad definition given in the Occupational Health & Safety Act is applicable in both the academic and administrative divisions of the University.

Thus in academic departments, individual faculty members or principal investigators may have charge of a workplace (e.g. a laboratory) or have some degree of authority over graduate students, teaching assistants, administrative staff, or other University employees. In such a case they are supervisors as defined in the Act.

Among the administrative staff of the University, the supervisory role is generally more clearly defined and outlined in position descriptions. Please see Occupational Health and Safety Guide for Supervisors.

Who is a worker?

A worker is a person who is paid to perform work or supply service. Thus all University employees are workers. In addition, where students are paid to perform work, for example, teaching assistants, they become workers under the Act.

It is the policy of the University that it will be a safe and healthy place to work and study. Therefore, although they may not meet the precise definition of worker, students should be afforded the same protection that would be afforded a worker under the Act. Please see Occupational Health and Safety Guide for Supervisors, Duties of Supervisors and Workers.


Supervisors have a general legal duty to take every precaution reasonable under the circumstances to protect workers.


Workers must work in compliance with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations.

Health and Safety Policy

The University of Toronto Health and Safety Policy was approved by the Governing Council in June 1993. The policy states the University's commitment to maintaining a safe and healthful environment in which to work and to study.

Accident Reporting

Reporting of accidents is mandatory under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. In the event of an accident or incident while working in Chemistry, an Accident/Incident report must be completed within 24 hours and submitted to Yacine Merabtine in room 20. This report is available on line in PDF format. For more information on accident reporting requirements, read the following University of Toronto procedures.


The Occupational Health & Safety Act states that MSDS must be available in the workplace for all hazardous materials. Departmental policy requires those people handling hazardous materials to be familiar with MSDS prior to handling. In addition, the sheets must be readily accessible by all workers who may be exposed to the hazardous material to which it relates.

When ordering chemicals from a supplier, ask the supplier to fax the appropriate sheet to you at your fax number. If this is not requested and the chemical has been ordered recently by others, the supplier does not routinely send the information or may send it to a central point.

Within the Department MSDS are available from the following sources:

If assistance is required contact the Departmental Safety Officer: Ken Greaves (416) 978-3570

Joint Health and Safety Committee 2022-23

Name Room # Phone Email
Yacine Merabtine 20 978-3570
Darcy Burns, Co-chair 14 978-0448
Robert Batey 151 978-3566
Grace Flock 154 946-7216
Anna Bravakis 104A 946-3812
Kania Prahasto 154
Craig Diegel   946-0456
Christopher Major
Geoff Shirtliff-Hinds   978-4335
Scott Browning 220 946-7380
Christine Weidner   978-8321
Datong Song DB343 978-7014
John Ford 53 978-3584

In addition to the obligations of a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee as specified in the Act, the committee provides a confidential forum for students/staff/post-docs/research associates/visitors to discuss health and safety concerns. The Committee meets at least four times a year and copies of minutes are kept on file with the co-chairs.

The workplace is inspected twice a year and if safety violations are found, a notice is forwarded to the responsible researcher. Violations must be corrected within a two-week period. The Committee also investigates and reports on all accidents in the department.