Implementing a Chemical Safety Program Updated

Use the information, samples, and checklists in this manual to develop or improve your chemical safety program.

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Chemicals are present in every workplace ranging from cleaning products to chemicals produced on site.

Having a chemical safety program in your workplace will reduce health and safety risks, lower environmental impact, and reduce operation costs. If chemicals are not used, stored, and handled properly, they can cause injury, illness, disease, fire, explosions, or property damage.

A chemical safety program does not have to be complicated or costly. The overall goal is to establish a program that considers the entire lifecycle of the chemical or process - beginning with purchasing and including identification, labelling, inventory, use, storage, record-keeping requirements, and disposal.

This manual will help you by providing step-by-step guidance on understanding, controlling, and safely working with chemicals.


This 138-page manual provides good practice information about the safe use and control of chemicals in a workplace.

It will help you to:

  • Create a chemical safety program
  • Identify hazards and risks to workers, equipment, other materials, and the environment
  • Evaluate and control hazards
  • Be prepared for and respond to emergencies
  • Monitor and improve your program

It will also help organizations:

  • Assign responsibilities and accountabilities for chemical safety
  • Decrease workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities
  • Reduce the impact of incidents
  • Create a culture of prevention and awareness


This manual provides the information, samples, and checklists needed to start or improve your chemical safety program. It will also help you understand how to work safely with chemicals, their health hazards, and storage, handling, and other aspects of chemical safety. The actual chemicals that are present and their hazards, as well as the size and complexity of your specific workplace, will determine the level of program that you need.

Businesses small and large can use this manual. You can customize the information in this publication to best match the chemical hazards in your workplace.

NOTE: The information in this publication is based on “good practice” principles and techniques. The purpose of this manual is to provide guidance, rather than prescribe specific requirements, and is not intended as a legal interpretation of any federal, provincial or territorial legislation.


Topics include:

  • The elements of a chemical safety program - how to get started, legislation, inventory processes, and purchasing
  • Exposure to chemical hazards and how to get the information necessary to protect worker health and safety, for example, using hazard identification systems such as WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System)
  • Safely storing and working with chemicals
  • Occupational exposure limits and how to evaluate and control the exposure
  • Waste storage and disposal, emergency preparedness, first aid, and training

Target Audience

This manual is recommended for anyone who is committed to providing a workplace that is healthy and safe from the hazards associated with chemicals.

It will assist employers, owners, managers, supervisors, operators, health and safety committees, chemical management teams, workers - and the organization as a whole - by providing guidance about the development, maintenance, and continual improvement of a chemical safety program.

Each publication produced by CCOHS undergoes several stages of review. As part of this review, representatives from government, employers, and labour are requested to comment on draft copies of CCOHS documents for technical accuracy and readability.

Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy and completeness of the information, it is understood that CCOHS makes no warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of such information and assumes no liability for any damages or loss suffered as a result of any inaccuracy or incompleteness therein.


The CCOHS Difference

CCOHS publications are unique in that they are developed by subject specialists in the field, and reviewed by representatives from labour, employers and government to ensure the content and approach are unbiased and credible.


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