Workplace Safety FAQ

Hello, welcome to the UWO Department of Anthropology Safety Page. This webpage provides you with information regarding both department-specific and university-wide safety protocols and procedures. If you have any specific questions not covered here, please contact the Laboratory Manager, at

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who is required to complete the WHMIS, Occupational Health and Safety, Position Hazards Communication Form, and AODA certifications?
A: WHMIS is required of all university employees, including staff, faculty, graduate students, work study students, and volunteers.

Q: Where can I find the quiz and more information?
A:The WHMIS and H&S Orientation training has changed and there is now only 1 NEW version of WHMIS. You will find more information on these two pages:

WHMIS info
Required Training -

Q: Why must I complete all of these certifications?

A: As part of the University’s mission for a safe environment and in accordance with federal, provincial, and municipal legislation, all individuals who work and/or study at UWO are required to complete these certifications for the protection of all and minimization of risk of injury and damage to individuals and property.

Q: How often must I complete WHMIS?

A: WHMIS is good for three years, therefore recertification is required every three years.

Q: I am away in the field and I received a notice that my WHMIS has expired. Do I still need to renew it even though I am not on campus?

A: Yes, the WHMIS is still required as long as you are registered as a graduate student at UWO.

Q: What are the consequences for not completing these safety certifications?

A: The consequences for not completing these safety certifications vary. At a minimum, you may lose access to laboratory facilities or be disciplined by your supervisor. The University also reserves the right to dismiss you from your position if you do not fulfill the duties and requirements of your position, including failure or refusal to complete the safety certifications.

Q: What is the Occupational Health and Safety Orientation?

A: The Occupational Health and Safety Orientation is a session meant to inform the participant of all the necessary information pertaining to the Occupational Health & Safety Act of Ontario, health and safety partners at Western, know what workplace hazards are and what to do when they are encountered, know how to properly respond to campus fires and emergencies, and know one’s duty to report workplace accidents and incidents.

Q: What is the Position Hazards Communication Form?

A: The Position Hazards Communication Form is a form an employee and/or student fills out to inform his or her supervisor and the University of any potential hazards that he or she may be exposed to while at Western. Hazards include but are not limited to chemical and radiation exposures, types of work completed (e.g. extended typing or manual labor), noise exposure, etc.

Q: Why must a Position Hazards Communication Form be completed?

A: Filling out a Position Hazards Communication Form is required by the University but is also a form that benefits you. Your supervisor will use the information provided on the Position Hazards Communication Form to determine if and what types of training you will need in order to complete work and/or research and if and what personal protective equipment (PPE) you will need. PPEs may be provided to you through the university at no charge.

Q: Who fills out the Position Hazards Communication Form?

A: Please discuss this with your supervisor, but generally you, as a student or employee, fill out the Position Hazards Communication Form. Upon completion, the form is sent to your supervisor for assessment and approval.

Q: How do I turn in a copy of the Position Hazards Communication Form?

A: A copy is sent to your supervisor as well as Occupational Health & Safety at Western when you complete and send the form via the online form. Your supervisor will then send a copy to the Safety Coordinator in the Department (e.g. the Bioarchaeology Laboratory Manager).

Q: Where do I go to complete the Position Hazards Communication Form?

A: You can download the required form HERE.

Q: What is the AODA?

A: AODA stands for Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and falls under the Accessibility at Western protocols established at UWO. The purpose of this act is to improve opportunities to individuals with disabilities and identify, remove, and prevent barriers that hinder their ability to participate in the life of the province. The Accessibility at Western (AODA) quizzes are in accordance to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in order to inform and educate all students, employees, faculty, and staff of requirements of the Act and how to aid and help affected individuals.

Q: Where do I complete the AODA quizzes?

A: WebCT Owl: You can login HERE. You will need your employee ID, which is separate from your student ID. If you are unsure which ID to use, please contact ITS Computer Accounts Office at or by 519 661-3800 Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Q: Which quiz (teaching or service) do I take?

A: Please ask your supervisor which certification is required of you and your position within the University.

Q: What are PPEs?

A: PPE stands for Personal Protection Equipment and includes but is not limited to lab coats, safety glasses, respirators, chairs, etc. Prescription safety glasses, respirators, and other PPEs that are required in order to complete employment duties and/or research may be provided by the University. To inquire or to place an order for PPE you may require, please speak directly to your supervisor or the Bioarchaeology Laboratory Manager.

Q: I wish to work with X-rays, hazardous materials, lasers, radiation, outside in hot weather, etc. Do I need to complete any additional safety training?

A: Yes! Please discuss with your supervisor what specific training is required before you begin work or research. Laboratory Safety Training, X-ray Safety Training, Radiation Safety (nuclear), Laser Training, and additional trainings are available both in seminar and WebCT formats; please discuss which format is preferred by your supervisor before completing these certifications. The “Working in Hot Weather or Hot Workplace Environments” course is required for those working, researching, or studying in these conditions and must be completed with your supervisor.