Case Study - City of Orillia Chemical Hazards Audit

Hear how SDS RiskAssist inspired employee engagement about chemical safety within the City of Orillia

Evaluation of chemical hazards from products used by the City of Orillia

Canadian municipalities have powerful voices. By their actions, they can lead the way to achieving many goals in their communities. Overseeing the health and safety of workers and the environment with chemicals is no exception.

The City of Orillia, known as the Sunshine City, is located just 90 minutes north of Toronto on the shores of Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching. It is known for its small-town charm and its variety of all-season outdoor activities.

To protect its valuable employees and natural assets from harm due to hazardous chemicals, the City of Orillia subscribed to SDS RiskAssist in the fall of 2022.

The following case study describes how the City reduced their WHMIS workload by reducing their number of SDSs by 50% and acted immediately to mitigate harm to workers, to hold chemical product suppliers accountable to the standard of Canada's Hazardous Products Regulation, to eliminate hazardous products and to set metrics to eliminate or substitute more products in the future.

Read the following case study to learn how SDS RiskAssist helped the City of Orillia take these actions:

  • Infographic
  • Executive Summary

Chemical Hazards Audit Case Study Overview


City of Orillia


Ontario, Canada

WHMIS Documents:








Challenge: Previously Unknown chemical risk

Key Findings:

Chemical hazard overview extracted by SDS RiskAssist from City of Orillia safety data sheets
  • 17 products contain Ontario-regulated designated substances
  • 22 products have fatal, toxic, unusual fire or explosion hazards
  • 80 products can cause occupational disease or reproductive harm
  • 3 products contain powerful greenhouse gases including one that has the same global warming potential as driving 1,100 km!
Executive Summary

In 2022, the City of Orillia selected SDS RiskAssist, web-based safety data sheet (SDS) management

and chemical safety software, to improve chemical safety across municipal operations.

Over the span of 8 weeks, 600 paper SDSs (many of them duplicates), were replaced with 318 sharable

electronic versions, for substantial future time savings. In addition, using SDS RiskAssist, city personnel

were able to gain clarity on requirements associated with occupational health and safety and

environmental legislation, with the following examples:

  • Of the City’s 318 SDSs, 5 do not comply with WHMIS regulations and 35 are more than 7 years old. These will be updated and/or confirmed that the hazards of the products are well understood.
  • SDS RiskAssist data showed that 17 products in the City’s SDS collection contain designated substances and are subject to Ontario Regulation 490. Per the regulation, the use of these products must be assessed to determine if control plans are required.
  • The City uses 22 products that have fatal, toxic, unusual fire or explosion hazards. 4 of these are also occupational disease and environmental hazards. Handling of these products must be assessed to ensure proper controls for mitigating risk, have been implemented.
  • The City uses 80 products that can cause occupational disease or reproductive harm. Safer products will be sourced where possible and engineering and administrative controls and training will be implemented, where there are gaps.
  • The City was able to act quickly to address employee exposure to an arena ice paint containing silica, a respirable designated substance too small to see with the naked eye.
  • SDS RiskAssist identified that the City uses 5 different graffiti removers. Using only the safest one would eliminate the fire, cancer and reproductive hazards associated with this activity.
  • The City uses 3 products that contain greenhouse gases with powerful global warming potential. Just one 400 ml can of the worst of these products, has the same global warming potential as driving 1,100 kms in an average car. Eliminating this product is equivalent to the carbon capture of planting 5 tree seedlings and growing them for 10 years!

During the onboarding phase of the project, SDS RiskAssist flagged products that prompted the City to

challenge several local suppliers to update their safety data sheets to ensure they comply with the

regulations. In this way, the City is not only safeguarding the health and safety of its workers but also

improving chemical safety within the community at large. All employers, workers and the environment

benefit from better chemical safety information from suppliers.

84 employees from the City of Orillia are already using the system, with more being added each day.

Response from city employees has been extremely positive, with staff appreciating the ease of looking

up SDSs and quickly understanding the hazards by reviewing the SafetySnaps (clear, concise summaries of each SDS).

Why choose SDS RiskAssist?