Designated Substances Policy

Effective: September 2000
Reviewed: June 2017
Revised: June 2017
Signed/Position: Vice-President, Finance, Administration and Risk

Applicable Legislation/Standards:

Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1
  • O. Reg. 278/05 - Designated Substance - Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Building and Repair Operations
  • O. Reg. 490/09 - Designated Substances


This policy applies to all University employees (faculty, staff), students and contractors conducting work or research at the University of Guelph.

Policy Statements:

  1. All University employees, students and contractors shall abide by the provisions of this Policy and any associated designated substance control programs.
  2. Designated substances shall be used only where there are no other products that can be substituted or meet the application.
  3. Supervisors shall consult with the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) unit prior to introducing a designated substance in the workplace.
  4. Supervisors shall complete an assessment to determine if a potential exposure exists and if a control program is required, in consultation with EHS.
  5. Designated substances assessments shall be completed in consultation with the local Joint Health and Safety Committee.
  6. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees who may be exposed to designated substances participate in training on health effects and workplace controls and procedures.
  7. Employees exposed to designated substances shall be advised about medical surveillance programs, as prescribed under regulations.
  8. The management of asbestos on construction and building renovation projects shall be in accordance with the University Asbestos Management Program.


Term Definition
Designated Substances Eleven substances designated by the Ontario Ministry of Labour as hazardous and requiring specific safety precautions, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. These substances are: acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica
Designated Substance Assessment An evaluation to determine if there is a potential for worker exposure to the designated substance and if worker health may be affected. It accounts for how the designated substance may be handled or used, actual or potential exposures through inhalation, skin absorption or ingestion and control measures in place to prevent exposure.
Control Program A control program is required if the assessment discloses the need. A control program outlines the steps taken to protect workers from exposure to a designated substance. It includes a written document that typically outlines roles and responsibilities of stake holders, engineering controls, the training, work practices, required, personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical surveillance requirements.