Laboratory Safety

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) is dedicated to safety. All faculty, staff, and students working in labs are directed to UNBC’s ‘Risk & Safety Management’ website:

Please contact appropriate persons within ‘Risk & Safety Management’ concerning University wide policies on safety. Safety notices, contacts, and bulletins are posted at the entrance to the lab above the spill kit and fire extinguisher. An eye wash station and shower are located in the hallway.

University waste management and disposal is handled by Chemstores. Familiarize yourself with the disposal containers in the lab and UNBCs policies by reading disposal guidelines posted in the lab and/or by visiting the Chemstores website:

“It is the responsibility of each individual to determine whether the waste they generate is hazardous or not (UNBC Hazardous Waste Guide).”

All persons working in the genetics lab are WHIMIS certified in accordance with the standards and provisions pertaining to the province of British Columbia. Please be aware that work in the laboratory requires the use of chemicals. It is important that users of the laboratory stay informed about the chemicals they are using and to relay safety standards through the MSDS resources. If you are unclear about anything you are doing—ask questions. Although some chemicals are carcinogenic, toxic, and/or hazardous—their degree of harmful effect can depend on concentration and duration of exposure; this information is available through MSDS:


Safety is everyone's responsibility and it is important that you help out and become involved in all aspects of lab safety and operations. If you make a mistake or a spill it is imperative that others are notified immediately and the safety procedures outlined above the spill kit are followed. Be respectful of equipment and consult the manuals. A cluttered area is also unsafe - so please keep your space clean. Finally, if you have constructive ideas or concerns regarding safety or reduction of waste, please bring them to the attention of your supervisor.

Prior to initiating an experiment look up MSDS for each chemical you are using to put your WHIMIS training into practice. When preparing reagents wear MSDS recommended safety equipment and use UNBCs workplace labels to identify the product, safe handling procedures, and MSDS reference. Be aware of any hazards and/or precautions and think about safety.


Waste receptacles are placed throughout the lab and a ‘Waste Disposal Overview’ is posted in the lab.  All waste products must be properly identified and labeled. Mixing of waste materials must meet disposal guidelines, as unlabelled waste chemicals can be dangerous and very expensive to deal with.