(formerly e-CHAP-Risk)

A Workplace Tool for Identifying and Prioritizing Workplace Chemical Hazards

A large number of chemicals are used in industry, but only a small number have occupational exposure limits.

Assessing the risk posed by most workplace chemicals can be challenging, particularly for small businesses.

To address this challenge, researchers from Ryerson University, along with representatives from unions, health and safety associations and industry partners formed a research team to develop a range of free tools to help small businesses assess chemical hazards and risks.

[Learn more about the Project Background below]

The Tool

This Excel-based tool uses information from the safety data sheet of a chemical along with details on how the chemical is used to calculate a risk level and provide a recommended control approach.

Basic and Advanced versions are available, depending on your application.

Instructional and demonstration videos are available along with User Guides for each version.

A paper version is also available if that is your preference.

Watch the CHAP-Risk Demonstration Video

Note:  You will be taken to a page on the Ryerson University website.

Why Use the CHAP Tools

Icon of the WHMIS logo

Meet WHMIS obligations with easy-to-use software packages that do not require internet access

Icon of a person's head with a lightbulb inside it representing understanding

Improve understanding by, and communication with, workers of the hazards posed by the chemicals they use

Icon of chemical containers surrounded by workers with a management figure at the top

Improve management of chemical hazards with a focus on improved control measures and protection of workers

Icon of a chemical drum overlayed with two smaller chemical containers

Create improved chemical inventories with assessments that reside on in-house computer systems

Additional Resources

Simple Chemical Risk Assessment for Small Business

An article in Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) Magazine
December 2021

Thomas Tenkate
Associate Professor, School of Occupational & Public Health
Ryerson University

Setting Priorities: Testing a workplace tool to identify and prioritize workplace chemical hazards: A summary of the pilot study to evaluate a pen-and-paper tool to help rank the health effect of chemicals

Researchers at the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University and representatives from five national and provincial unions and three provincial health and safety associations (including OHCOW) formed a research team to collaborate on a pilot study to develop a tool that would help identify and prioritize chemicals in the workplace. They developed a tool specifically for Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) of small and medium-sized organizations to help identify and prioritize the health effects of workplace chemicals using SDS information. The study received funding from the Ministry of Labour in Ontario, Canada.

Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) from six small to medium-sized organizations were recruited to pilot the effectiveness of the newly-created CHAP (Chemical Hazard Assessment and Prioritization) tool. They ranked 10 chemicals used in their workplaces on their health effects. The 10 chemicals were chosen by the members of the JHSC based upon the frequency of use in their workplaces, and/or because JHSC members were concerned about them. The goal of the ranking was to help the JHSC prioritize chemicals for increased protection measures or finding substitutions using the occupational health and safety Hierarchy of Controls (at the source, along the path, and at the worker).

With the help of OHCOW and other partners, the project also developed and piloted a training course that was delivered to the JHSCs to help them use the CHAP tool. The training course built upon WHMIS 2015 (Government of Canada, 2015), focused on increasing the JHSCs’ comfort and understanding on how to use the Safety Data Sheets that come with every chemical and the use of the CHAP tool.

The pilot study was framed as a modest and achievable first step to help workplaces take an inventory of their chemicals, learn how to understand the information included in the chemicals’ Safety Data Sheets on health effects, and learn how to rank chemicals based on the severity of those health effects.

RESULTS: The JHSCs thought the process of assessing and prioritizing their workplace chemicals was useful. It raised their awareness of chemicals, increased their understanding of SDS health warnings, and helped them prioritize their chemicals for control measures. The organizations provided some very specific suggestions on how the tool should be modified. However, superseding these detailed suggestions was a more significant one that the CHAP tool should be converted from paper-and-pencil to an electronic version with automatically-populating windows.

CONCLUSIONS: Small and medium-sized organizations found the tool useful, but an electronic version would be easier to use.

The team resolved to adopt this suggestion and have now developed an e-CHAP tool that can be accessed at:

A new project was created to develop this electronic tool to also allow for the risk assessment of chemicals. This project has now been funded by WorkSafeBC, and was initiated in 2020. As of November 2020, with the help of all the research partners, the project is recruiting workplaces to help evaluate the e-CHAP-Risk tool.

Project Partners

The logo for Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

The logo of Ryerson University

Logo of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skill Development

The logo of WorkSafe BC