Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s national hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are hazard classification, cautionary labelling of containers, the provision of (material) safety data sheets ((M)SDSs) and worker education and training programs.
The basis for hazard classification and communication in WHMIS is changing. With the incorporation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling for chemicals (GHS) in WHMIS, the hazard classification and communication requirements of WHMIS have been aligned with those used in the United States and other Canadian trading partners. WHMIS is in a period of transition between two hazard communication regimes – WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 (which incorporates the GHS).
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are cautionary labelling of containers of WHMIS “controlled products”, the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and worker education programs.
WHMIS is implemented through coordinated federal, provincial and territorial legislation. Supplier labelling and MSDS requirements are set out under the Hazardous Products Act and associated Controlled Products Regulations. The Hazardous Products Act and its regulations are administered by the Government of Canada Department of Health, commonly referred to as Health Canada.
The Controlled Products Regulations establish a national standard for the classification of hazardous workplace materials. In addition to setting out criteria for biohazards, chemical and acute hazards, the regulations specify criteria for chronic health hazards including mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, embryo and reproductive toxicity, respiratory tract and skin sensitization.
Each of the thirteen provincial, territorial and federal agencies responsible for occupational safety and health have established employer WHMIS requirements within their respective jurisdiction. These requirements place an onus on employers to ensure that controlled products used, stored, handled or disposed of in the workplace are properly labelled, MSDSs are made available to workers, and workers receive education and training to ensure the safe storage, handling and use of controlled products in the workplace.
WHMIS balances workers’ right-to-know with industry’s right to protect confidential business information and includes a mechanism for ruling on claims for exemption from disclosure of confidential business information as well as appeals to these rulings.
Occupational Health and Safety
Health Canada contributes to occupational health and safety (OHS) issues by coordinating the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and monitoring workplace radiation exposure. Health Canada also provides employee assistance services and occupational health services to federal employees.
Labour legislation falls primarily under the jurisdiction of Canada’s provinces and territories. However, the federal Labour Program is the occupational health and safety (OHS) regulatory authority for workplaces designated under federal jurisdiction (e.g. mining, energy).
All workers through GREAT STAFFING. are to be trained at the workplace due to company standards and be knowledgeable of all workplace hazards and to identify, report, correct and eliminate any known hazards as well as to avoid the creation of new ones. If these problems are corrected immediately, we can prevent unnecessary accidents and / or incidents. We each have a responsibility for our own safety as well as the safety of co-workers.