Safety information

Emergency numbers

  • Fire, Police, Ambulance: call 911
  • Hazardous Material Response: call 911
  • Campus Security: 604-822-2222
  • Poison Control Centre: 604-682-5050
  • Police RCMP: 604-224-1322
  • Ambulance: 604-872-5151
  • Trouble Calls — after hours emergencies only: 604-822-2173
  • UBC Hospital Urgent Care: 604-822-7662

Non-emergency numbers

  • First Aid: 604-822-4444
  • Ambulance (administration): 604-660-6897
  • Campus Fire Department: 604-665-6010
  • Risk Management Services: 604-822-2029
  • Rape Crisis Centre — W.A.V.A.W.: 604-255-6344
  • Student Health Services: Go to Urgent Care at the UBC Hospital (2211 Wesbrook Mall), Open Everyday 8am-10pm
  • UBC Sexual Assault Support Centre: 604-827-5180
  • Trouble calls: Zoology admin office: 604-822-3384

First Aid

UBC: Occupational First Aid team 24 hours a day: 604-822-4444 or 2-4444 (UBC landlines)

Biodiversity: A first aid kit is located in room 029, accessible through the downstairs kitchen of this building. It contains a bed and chair, first aid kit, and a CPR mask.

Biosciences: A first aid kit is located in room 1237, in the grey chemicals cabinet.

Chemical spills

Biodiversity: A chemical spill kit is located at the top of the main stairs on the second floor of this building. This includes acid, base, and solvent spills as well as mercury (e.g. from a broken thermometer). A list of the contents is posted beside the kit. If you have a spill and use something from the kit, please let Patrick Tamkee know so that he can replenish the kit (tamkee ‘at’ There is a MSDS folder on the chemicals cabinet in room 155 (three doors to the left of this sign) that contains safety information pertaining to all chemicals found in our lab.

Biosciences: A chemical spill kit is located on the 4th floor, room 4213, through the mail room. The code to the mail room is 693, if you need to access it after hours. If you have a spill and need to use something from the kit, please let Patrick Tamkee know (tamkee ‘at’ so that he can replenish the kit. There is a MSDS folder in the grey chemicals cabinet in room 1237 that contains safety information pertaining to all chemicals found in our lab.

Fire procedures

If you discover a fire

  • Leave the fire area.
  • Immediately sound the fire alarm by activating the nearest red alarm pull station.
  • Call the Fire Department: Call 911.
  • At your discretion attempt to control the fire with available fire equipment.
  • Close doors behind you, leave the building by the nearest safe exit.
  • Do NOT use the elevators.

When you hear alarm

  • Calmly leave the building immediately by the nearest safe exit.
  • Close doors behind you.
  • When you have reached the outside, move away from the building and go to the designated assembly area (West of the Biodiv Museum on the grass adjacent to Main Mall.
  • Call the Fire Department. Dial 911.
  • Do NOT go back into the building for any reason. The Fire Dept. will advise when it is safe to do so.
  • Do not assemble on the courtyard, in case the museum below begins to burn.

More details of the Biosciences emergency procedures are HERE.

Safety courses

New lab members including all students, staff, faculty and visitors, must take safety training to work at UBC.

Mandatory courses for all

Courses include the four UBC Mandatory Health & Safety Training for all Workers:

  • New Worker Safety Orientation
  • Preventing and Addressing Workplace Bullying and Harassment Training
  • Workplace Violence Prevention Training
  • Privacy & Information Security Fundamentals Training Part 1 & 2

Required if working in lab

Undergrads, volunteers, and visitors undertaking a project under the constant and direct supervision of a senior lab member must also take the

Required if working unsupervised

Lab members (including faculty, visiting researchers, staff) working alone or independently with DNA, animal body parts/tissue, or animal fluids, etc. are required to take the

Lab members working independently with liquid or solid chemicals (including ethanol, methylene blue, MS-222) are required to take the

Required if working with animals

Finally if you work on fish or other animals you need to take the animal care course. You’ll need this course to collect fish and keep fish in the lab under Dolph’s Animal Use Protocol.

Most of you will click the link for Fish Users.

First Aid course

If working in the field it is recommended to take a basic First Aid course.

Working Alone

Don’t work alone if you can help it.

NOTE: Working alone near the ponds is strictly forbidden. If you will be anywhere near the water, make sure you have a buddy with you! You may work alone in the trailer hut at the ponds but must stay at least 50 m away from the water and follow the usual work-alone rules (below).

A couple of forms to sign

If you will sometimes work alone, such as feeding fish on weekends, you must download and sign a protocol form and send to Dolph. We ask that you do this annually.

Use the Work-Alone app

  1. When working alone all lab people must use the UBC Safe Vancouver app and its work alone feature, which ensures you are checking in with someone at pre-determined times. Download this app to your phone.

  2. Check-in using the app when you start and when you end your work, and at the predetermined time intervals.

    • The app will prompt you to check-in when needed.
    • If you do not respond to the app, it will notify your check in designate. If you still do not respond it will notify campus security. See the Work Alone Procedure for more information on how the app works
    • UBC Security: 604-822-2222
    • UBC First Aid (Staff and Faculty): 604-822-4444
    • Emergency: Call 911
    • Dolph’s cell: 604-418-5388
    • Carling’s cell: 778-228-8391

Safety equipment

You should have knowledge of where safety equipment is located:

  • First Aid kits
    • BRC: In room 029, accessible via the downstairs kitchen
    • Biosciences: In room 1237, in the grey chemicals cabinet
  • Fire alarm, extinguishers, AED
    • BRC: Located near the west entrance, across from room 113
    • Biosciences: NW corner of the West wing, 2nd floor
  • Chemical MSDS
    • MSDS folderis in the grey cabinet in room 1237. Contains safety information pertaining to all chemicals found in our lab.
  • Gloves and eye protection
  • Spill kit
    • BRC: 2nd floor at top of stairs
    • Biosciences: 4th floor, room 4213 through the mail room (code is 693 after hours)

Field Safety

Working at the Ponds

Lab members working at the ponds must

  • Undergo safety orientation from our lab technician beforehand, at the start of each year.
  • Read the Safe Work Procedure for Working at the Ponds
  • Fill out the checklist
  • Fill out the Release of Liability form
  • Never work near the water alone. A minimum of two people is required. At least one person must be on shore at all times.
  • Wear a life preserver if on/in the water
  • Be near a life ring if on shore
  • Wear appropriate gear for the weather conditions
  • Have a cell phone or radio with you and ensure you have reception
  • Know where the first aid kit is located in the trailer hut.

Forms are collected by our lab technician and kept by Dolph.

Field trips

All lab members engaged in field studies must

  • Become familiar with the Zoology department’s Field Safety Policy.
  • Be familiar with the UBC Travel and Field Safety Policies and Procedures
  • Submit Field Research Safety webforms for approval before any field work is conducted
  • Pack a first aid kit. We have some in the lab
  • Always leave a record of where you’re going, and when to expect you back.
  • Working alone in the field is strongly discouraged. Bring a buddy! If you must, follow the work alone procedures above and check in with someone regularly.
  • Have a cell phone on your person at all times. If you are visiting a site for the first time, be sure to check your reception.
  • Have proper field gear: raingear, layers in case the weather turns. Gloves, hats, rain boots, waders, etc. may all be necessary, even on a day that looks nice in the morning.
  • Have all required permits with you.

Boating regulations

The following information was taken from Subpart II (Human-powered Pleasure Craft) and Subpart III (Exceptions) of the CANADA SHIPPING ACT, Small Vessel Regulations. The information below applies to small, human-powered boats not over 6 m in length. In short, we are required to have

  • an approved personal flotation device (wear)
  • a buoyant rope of not less than 15 m
  • a bailer
  • a bilge pump
  • a sound-signalling device

If the boat is larger than 6 m or if it has a motor then further requirements apply. See items 209-211 in the complete document here.

Dive safety

Lab members planning to use SCUBA diving during their research or studies must register as a certified Scientific Diver with the UBC Diving Safety Office. This status must be kept current as long as research diving activities continue. The steps to becoming an authorized Scientific Diver include:

  • Meet the Diving Officer (822-0864) to request a registration package. You will need to show certification for diving, First Aid and CPR, as well as your diver’s log book.
  • Pass a diving fitness evaluation and medical examination.
  • Pass a written examination and open water skills evaluation with the UBC Diving Officer.

Further information is available here

Disposal and recycling

Zoology’s waste information is here

Animal waste

UBC’s animal waste disposal sheet is here

The procedures below are for Risk Group 1 items (unlikely to cause disease in healthy workers or animals).

  • Collect Fish/Animal waste in a black polypropylene bag (6mm thick, 40cm x 40cm). All tubing, plastics, clips, tags, etc. must be removed from the animal before packaging).
  • Each bag MUST NOT weigh more than 10kg. Bags must be tagged with the Red Biological Waste Disposal Tag (in the Biodiversity genetics lab and more in Zoology Stores).
  • On the tag, check the box marked “Uncontaminated pathological animals”. Put a barcode sticker (generator number G-0376) onto the Disposal Tag (stickers are found in the freezer and the lab).
  • Tie the large bag tightly and dispose of it in the Cold Room outside the door of Zoology Stores. Double up on the bags if necessary. More bags available in Zoology Stores.
  • Our animal waste declaration form is here.

Chemical waste

For disposal of large quantities of concentrated acids and bases, or for more information on hazardous waste disposal or Chemical Conservation Programs contact the Environmental Programs Officer (604-822-1285 or email: bang.dang ‘at’

All chemicals requiring pickup will need a chemical waste inventory form filled out and be approved by the Environmental services facility BEFORE waste is packaged for pickup.

What to do:

  • Complete the chemical waste inventory form and send to the Environmental services facility for approval. Email to Bang Dang: bang.dang ‘at’
  • Once approval forms are returned, the chemicals should be packaged into a sturdy cardboard box and according to the class or code noted.
  • Write on top of each box the generator’s name, department, and telephone number
  • Take boxes to the chemical-biohazard pickup room (See Scott in Stores) where they are to be stored and later picked up.


Follow this procedure once there are several gallons of formalin to dispose of.

  • Place the waste formalin in plastic bottles that won’t be missed.
  • Package the bottles into a sturdy cardboard box taped shut with the following information written on the outside:

    CODE 3 [circled]
    Formalin Waste for Incineration
    Schluter Lab, Zoology Department, 2-3383

  • Put the appropriate hazard symbol (get from Stores) on the box.
  • Place the box in the pickup room off the landing dock outside stores. The box will be picked up within a week (no need to phone anyone).

Ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and other solvents

Use this procedure to dispose of gallons of solvents.

  • Obtain bar code stickers (generator number G-0376) from the fish disposal kit in the freezer by the wet lab.
  • Bring the appropriate number of bar code stickers to Stores, where 1-gallon solvent disposal containers can be obtained. Attach the stickers to the tags.
  • Fill the containers with the solvent to be disposed. Return the containers to the pickup room, which is the first door off the landing outside Stores. The containers should be picked up within the week.


  • Place the waste MS222 in plastic bottles that won’t be missed.
  • Package the bottles into a sturdy cardboard box taped shut with the following information written on the outside:

    CODE 6.1 [circled]
    Waste for Incineration
    Schluter Lab, Zoology Department, 2-3383

  • Put the appropriate hazard symbol (get from Stores) on the
  • Place the box in the pickup room off the landing dock outside stores (the door before the cooler). The box will be picked up within a week (no need to phone anyone).

KOH and alizarin red solution

KOH is a base. To dispose of, follow the general procedures for acid/base neutralization and disposal (see below)

Acid/base neutralization

The following was taken from a Sept 2000 memo from the Department of Health, Safety and Environment, UBC.

  • Take safety precautions recommended in the MSDS. NOTE: specific procedures must be used for the disposal of Hydrofluoric and Perchloric acids.
  • Dilute acid or base to roughly 5% or 1 M by adding to cold/ice water
  • Neutralize by slowly adding neutralizing agent with stirring * inorganic base for acids, usually 5% solution of NaOH or Na2CO3 * inorganic acid for bases, usually 5% solution of HCl
  • Confirm that the pH is neutral (6-8).
  • Pour neutralized solution into the drain unless neutralization product is toxic (toxic materials include but are not limited to those containing heavy metals – Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury, Lead, Iron, Copper, Zinc, and others – or toxic anions – Cyanide, Sulphide, and others). If toxic, contact ESF for disposal.

Glass and sharps


“Glass” refers to clean, uncontaminated (by biohazardous or biomedical agents) glass bottles, pipettes, and other glassware.

  • Glass must be placed in five gallon, grey metal cans or white plastic pails clearly labeled as “Glass Waste Only”.
  • Each container must be lined with a clear 6 mil plastic bag that encloses all the glass.
  • Once 3/4 full, tie bag closed, ensuring that no glass objects protrude past the top of the container.
  • Fill out the glass waste book in Zoology Stores.
  • Dispose the can of glass in the Cold Room outside the door of Zoology Stores.


“Sharps” refers to uncontaminated (by biohazardous or biomedical agents) pipettes, syringes, needles, and other sharp metal objects.

  • Sharps must be placed in red containers made of hard, impervious, non-PVC plastic that is autoclavable and acceptable for incineration. Containers must be clearly labeled “SHARPS”.
  • Either a) chemically decontaminate all infectious items, then place in Sharps container; or b) place infectious items in Sharps container, then autoclave the entirecontainer once full.
  • Once the container is full of decontaminated Sharps, securely close the lid. Tag container with a completed Waste Generator tag.
  • Bring to Zoology Stores


UBC Risk Management will periodically pick up styrofoam packing blocks and boxes for recycling behind Biosciences or Biodiversity. Here’s the instructions we’ve been given.

  • Styrofoam packing blocks and boxes must be separated and bagged in clear bags, available at Stores.
  • UBC will not pick up non-Styrofoam material (food trays, food cups, egg cartons).
  • UBC no longer accepts any kind of styrofoam or starch-based packing peanuts.

Styrofoam must be clean and dry. Do not overfill the clear bags and secure them properly by tying the tops, so that Styrofoam bits do not spill out.

See the UBC styrofoam reduction and recycling page for more information.

Fire Warden (Dolph)

Dolph is warden for Biodiv 2nd floor. This is his memory bank.

Daily Check of floor area for:

  • Accumulation of combustible materials, rubbish or flammable liquids.
  • Dangerous ignition sources, i.e. worn extension cords, oily rags, overheating equipment.
  • Exit lights in good order and adequate lighting in public corridors and stairwells.
  • Fire and exit doors and their self closing hardware to ensure that they are in good operating condition. Doors must not be wedged open for any reason.
  • Exit routes are unobstructed.
  • Fire hose and portable extinguishers not obstructed, in good order and ready to use.

When fire alarm is heard

Supervise the evacuation of the occupants of 2nd floor to the predetermined assembly area (West of the Biodiv Museum on the grass adjacent to Main Mall).

  • Put on safety equipment (if applicable).
  • DO NOT put yourself in danger at any time during the response.
  • Walk through assigned areas and advise occupants to evacuate the building
  • Inform occupants to not use elevators.
  • Close all doors. DO NOT LOCK.
  • Direct Assistant Floor Warden (Whitton) to check the floor area, including all washrooms to ensure that all people have left the area.
  • Notify the Fire Safety Director (Beall) of any people with physical disabilities, and their exact whereabouts.
  • One Floor Warden will stay with the people with physical disabilities, the rest will proceed to the assembly area (West of the Biodiv Museum on the grass adjacent to Main Mall). Once the fire department relieves the remaining Floor Warden, he/she also proceeds to the assembly area.
  • Once everyone from his/her floor is safely at the assembly area, notify the Fire Safety Director (Beall).
  • Proceed to designated assembly area (West of the Biodiv Museum on the grass adjacent to Main Mall).
  • DO NOT re-enter the building.
  • Ensure that no one from his/her floor re-enters the building.

When fire is discovered

  • Immediately activate the closest fire alarm/pull station (link to map below)
  • Leave the immediate area and advise others to exit.
  • Attempt to control the fire with available fire equipment – if you can do so safely.
  • DO NOT use elevators.
  • Proceed to designated assembly area (West of the Biodiv Museum on the grass adjacent to Main Mall).
  • Call 911 (building address is 2212 MAIN MALL at the intersection of Biological Science Road & Main Mall).
  • DO NOT re-enter the building.


Building emergency response plans (map, locations, instructions):

2nd floor | other floors: 0, 1, 3, site.

Other documents

Dolph’s Fire Warden certificate 2016 | Course slides (2016): Fire, Earthquake

© 2009-2024 Dolph Schluter