Designated Substances Policy

Effective: September 2000
Reviewed: June 2023
Revised: June 2023
Signed/Position: Vice-President, Finance and Operations

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, volunteers 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. Alternatives or substitutions to designated substances that meet the application shall be considered when possible. 
  3. Supervisors shall consult with the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) unit prior to introducing a designated substance in the workplace. 
  4. If a worker is likely to be exposed to a designated substance in the workplace, the supervisors shall complete a designated substance assessment to determine 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, and vinyl chloride.
Designated Substance Assessment An evaluation of the exposure or likelihood of exposure to the designated substance to determine if worker health may be affected by the exposure. 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 control the worker’s exposure to the designated substance.  It includes a written document that typically outlines roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, engineering controls, work practices, hygiene facilities and practices, training, air monitoring, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical surveillance requirements.