Case Study – Queen's University Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science

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Queen's University: Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences – Efficient Chemical Knowledge Sharing with SDS RiskAssist™

Queen's University is a world renowned higher learning institution located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the beautiful historic city Kingston, Ontario. Queen's is known both for its traditions and innovation and Rillea Technologies has been very lucky to benefit from its innovation programs. So it was fitting that the university has been able to benefit from SDS RiskAssist.


When the team at Rillea Technologies was introduced to Dr. Yat Tse, the safety officer for the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, the students attending the undergraduate laboratories within the program had no easy way to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they may be exposed to in the anatomy labs. Further, the professors had encountered what they termed "chemophobia", where students were expressing anxiety about the chemicals they were being exposed to.


Four years later, the department has: up-to-date SDSs; eliminated products that contain designated substances from the undergrad labs; a better understanding of which chemical products could cause students to adversely react; added SDSs for products that were previously missed; provided 1-page safety briefs to students and students have barrier-free chemical hazard information at their fingertips, via mobile devices.

Read more about how SDS RiskAssist can be invaluable for educational institutions in the following case study.

  • Challenge
  • RilleaTech’s Solution & Results
Challenge
  • Queen’s University Department of Biomedical and MolecularSciences (DBMS) hosts labs for over 1000 undergrad students per year
  • Chemicals used in anatomy labs can be hazardous
  • Staff seeing trends towards chemophobia with students concerned about chemical exposures during labs
  • WHMIS documents were not easily available for students
  • WHMIS documents intimidating and unclear for students
  • Privacy concerns preclude some students from sharing important health status with staff ie:pregnancy
  • Repeated questions and concerns about chemicals consuming staff time

“SDS RiskAssist™ enabled me to feel confident that students were getting the knowledge they needed to feel safe in our labs and stay focused on their learning objectives.”

Dr. Yat Tse

Safety Officer,

Department of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Queen's University

RilleaTech's Solution & Results

Rillea’s Solution:

  • Rillea-assisted conversion to WHMIS 2015 Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for all chemicals used in anatomy labs
  • Customized SDS RiskAssist website with all SDSs sorted by lab of use
  • Automated hazard database developed as SDSs are uploaded
  • Searchable, sortable & filterable by lab of use, products, hazards & ingredients
  • Rillea-assisted risk assessment helped staff to set specific chemical handling directives

Results:

  • Clear hazards and handling directives for students in 1-page summaries
  • Linked WHMIS 2015 Safety Data Sheet directly to the 1-page summaries
  • Integrated 1-page chemical summaries with pre-lab safety presentations
  • Supported student learning by grouping only chemicals of relevance to curriculum and activities
  • Eased accessibility to chemical handling knowledge via SDS RiskAssist and in-lab tablet and/or student-owned desktop/mobile devices
  • Developed process for sustainable and continuously improving chemical safety knowledge that is shareable with teaching assistants as well as thousands of students


“At Queen’s University, student safety and learning are priorities. While chemicals associated with anatomy labs can be hazardous, we have invested heavily into infrastructure to ensure students can work and learn safely in these labs by following proper protocol and wearing necessary personal protective equipment. SDS RiskAssist™ helps our lab personnel and teaching assistants to share clear, consistent knowledge with students about the hazards, procedures and personal protective equipment needed to maintain safety.”

– Dr. Yat Tse, Safety Officer, Department of biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Queen's University

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