Case Study - Hospital Chemical Hazards Audit

Hospital Chemical Hazards Audit:

Evaluation of Chemical Safety and SDS Management Challenges in a Mid-Sized Hospital

Hospitals have significant challenges when it comes to chemicals management. With a focus of patient outcomes, many chemicals are used throughout the organization to properly maintain facilities; prevent pathogen transmission, support patient services, and assist staff with daily tasks.

To provide insight into the types of chemical-associated hazards in hospitals, Rillea Technologies used SDS RiskAssist data analysis technology to conduct an audit on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Safety Data Sheet (SDS) documents for a 150-bed hospital with approximately 320 employees, located in Ontario, Canada.

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

  • Infographic
  • Executive Summary

Chemical Hazards Audit Case Study Overview


Mid-sized Hospital


Ontario, Canada

WHMIS Documents:








Challenge: Unknown chemical risk

SDS RiskAssist Logo - White Backgroud

Key Findings:

Assess Chemical Hazards

Health Hazard Risks:

  • 24 products contain urgent hazards, not mitigated by normal safety protocols
  • 28 additional products contain a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant or respiratory sensitizer (Occupational Disease)
  • 7 products contain designated substances defined by Ontario Regulation 490

SDS Management Issues:

  • 60 non-compliant data sheets unknown hazards
  • 124 data sheets are > 5 years old
  • 54% of suppliers supply only one product
Control Chemical Hazards
Hazard Control Priorities by Department
Chemical Hazard Training Priorities
Chemical Hazard Training Priorities
Executive Summary

Findings from the data included: identifying that 5% of the products have "urgent" hazards including 5 products that are "Fatal if Inhaled", an additional 6% have occupational disease hazards (carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants and respiratory sensitizers) and 50% have common hazards.

SDS RiskAssist also compares products to identify safer alternatives. This is demonstrated by our review of 5 products in use in the hospital, which showed that safer options are available in the marketplace, to perform the function of the chemical product currently in use.

Additionally, Rillea Technologies was able to identify that 14 products are water pollutants, 145 products contain volatile organic compounds, 49 products are considered hazardous waste for disposal and the number of products containing green house gas ingredients was 10, including anesthetic gases.

Busy hospital personnel can use this information to:

  • Set metrics and priorities for risk assessments, elimination, substitution or control of risks for quick improvements in occupational and environmental health.
  • Prioritize training of personnel by department and/or location.
  • Reduce costs by eliminating or substituting products that are occupational disease hazards (these products carry the additional costs associated with maintaining proper engineering controls and added personal protective equipment.)

On the SDS Management side, Rillea Technologies evaluated the state of the WHMIS documents that were being managed in the existing system and found that 22% were either duplicates or obsolete and in 10% of the cases the document did not comply with WHMIS regulations. Documents that are not compliant put employees at risk of harm because nobody really knows what the hazards are.

Additionally, Rillea Technologies found that while 3 suppliers supplied a total of 107 products, 80 suppliers supplied only one product to the hospital. This presents an additional opportunity to improve procurement efficiencies for the hospital and reduce costs.

The WHMIS Gap White Paper Image

Millions of Canadians are exposed to chemical hazards in the workplace every year. Discover the gap that exists between the intent of WHMIS and the on-the-ground reality + get 3 steps to reduce the risks.