Designated Substances

Last Updated: May 28, 2018

Definition - What does Designated Substances mean?

Designated substances is the term used by the Canadian Ministry of Labour under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to refer to chemical or biological agents that have been deemed to be hazardous. In the United States, similarly regulated substances are referred to as hazardous chemicals.

In both countries, the use of these hazardous materials in the workplace is subject to regulations designed to ensure the health and safety of workers and the general public.

Examples of designated substances include asbestos, coke oven emissions, lead, and silica. If a designated substance is present in the workplace, then an employer must implement notification and safety protocols to protect employees.

WorkplaceTesting explains Designated Substances

Regulations governing designated substances address the exposure, processing, handling, and storage of these materials. Protective measures may include limiting access to areas in which hazardous chemicals are used or stored, and requiring employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Additional safety measures such as signage and washing facilities may also be required. Employees at risk of being exposed to designated substances in the workplace should also be provided with adequate training and education to reduce the risks associated with these materials.

In addition, workplace safety rules may require that employees who could potentially be exposed to these substances in the workplace undergo regular health monitoring. This monitoring is designed to detect previously undetected exposures and assist employers in identifying unsafe work practices. Regular monitoring of the workplace and worker health allows employers to quickly address any exposures or other risks associated with the use or storage of a designated substance.

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