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  • Approval Dates:  February 2003, January 2004, August 2007, September 2011
  • Approved by:  Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Jurisdiction:  Vice President, Administration and Finance, Integrated Risk Management (IRM)



The Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations for Industrial Establishments sets out specific personal and employer duties and prescriptions with respect to environmental health and safety (EHS) due diligence and fire safety requirements.  Commitment to these legal obligations is further articulated within Ryerson’s EHS System Policy which identifies fire safety as a critical supporting program.  In accordance with its due diligence principles, we must promote and enforce preventative actions to address EHS related risks.

Ryerson’s Fire Safety Review Committee, reporting to the Vice President, Administration and Finance, was established to monitor fire safety within Ryerson, identify required due diligence strategies, formulate appropriate preventative initiatives and coordinate their implementation.  A critical aspect of these responsibilities is to establish due diligence standards by acknowledging strict legal requirements and practices implemented within the University sector as a whole.  Consistent with meeting these standards and practices the Committee recommended the adoption of this policy.


Consistent with the principles outlined within the University policy Environmental Health and Safety System, which ensures that all reasonable measures are taken for the protection of individuals’ health and safety, a policy on the use of electrical appliances has been designed by Ryerson’s Fire Safety Review Committee.  The intent of the measures outlined in the policy is to maximize total loss control by minimizing the risks associated with the design and use of electrical appliances.  Through the establishment of purchasing controls, licensing and equipment certification requirements, assignment of approved designated use areas and inspection and monitoring measures, the University shall be assured of demonstrating due diligence.

Specifically, this policy directs that:

  1. The use of personal electrical appliances, including but not limited to, such items as coffee makers, toasters, microwave ovens, air purifiers, humidifiers, and heaters be restricted to designated use areas which have been approved by Campus Planning and Facilities.
  2. All such appliances must be purchased in the manner outlined in the Purchasing Policy.  Only those appliances which are CSA or equivalent approved will be permitted.
  3. The use of extension cords is prohibited.  However, power bars that are equipped with built-in circuit breakers and are CSA/ULC approved are permissible.
  4. The use of halogen torch lamps is prohibited.
  5. All currently in use appliances and those purchased from the time of this policy must be inspected and tagged by Campus Planning and Facilities prior to acceptance for use.
  6. The Departmental Safety Officer shall conduct regular fire safety inspections of all designated areas within their department and report the findings to the department head.


CSA:  Canadian Standards Association.

Department Head:  A manager or chair/director of a department/school (EHS System Policy Statement and Supporting Programs).

Electrical Appliances:  All electrical products designed for personal appliance use including, but not limited to, items such as coffee makers, microwave ovens, space heaters, toasters, kettles, hair dryers, air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, etc.

Internal Responsibility System (IRS):  The philosophical approach and supporting organizational  structure to environmental health and safety, which underlies the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario, whereby responsibility for environmental health and safety is shared by all parties in the workplace.

Exceptions:  The use of personal electrical appliances outside of designated areas will only be permitted in emergency situations which would require the temporary use of such items as heaters, humidifiers or dehumidifiers.  All such situations would be coordinated by Campus Planning and Facilities.  The use of radios is permitted, provided that CSA or ULC stickers are attached.

Designated Areas:  Designated areas are established kitchen areas.  If no such kitchen area exists in reasonable proximity to accommodate departmental needs, a designated area may be established according to the following specifications:

  1. The area must have signage indicating its purpose.
  2. Affixed to this signage must be an approval sticker for such use as issued by Campus Planning and Facilities.
  3. The area must be equipped with a portable ABC type fire extinguisher.
  4. The area must be inspected by the Departmental Safety Officer and their findings reported to the department head.

Roles and Responsibilities

Internal Responsibility System (IRS):  All department heads are accountable for routinely monitoring the effectiveness of all EHS related policies and practices within their respective jurisdictions (EHS System Policy and provisions of the OHS Act).  In turn, it is also the personal legal responsibility of all employees to support EHS directives and report any observed deficiencies or specific hazards.

Certain departments/positions are responsible for specific aspects of policy implementation and auditing:

Departmental Safety Officers (DSO's):  Each Departmental Safety Officer will be responsible for conducting routine fire safety inspections of designated area and reporting the findings to their respective department heads.

Fire Wardens:  As outlined in the University guidelines for fire wardens (University Emergency Response Plan) each fire warden shall routinely inspect and report any conditions relating to fire safety.

Campus Facilities & Sustainability:  Campus Planning and Facilities will inspect all electrical appliances and tag as approved for use.  In emergency circumstances, this department will be responsible for providing the necessary temporary corrective measures which may require the use of electrical appliances.  Approval for the establishment of designated areas will be coordinated by Campus Planning and Facilities.

Fire Safety Review Committee:  The Fire Safety Review Committee shall routinely monitor the status of compliance with this policy and respond to any deficiencies.


This policy is under the jurisdiction of the Vice President, Administration and Finance and is administered by the Director, Integrated Risk Management (IRM).