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The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) provides information about hazardous materials, referred to as controlled products, used in the workplace. Under WHMIS, workers have the right to receive information about each controlled product they use, its identity, associated hazards, and safety precautions.

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) provides information about hazardous materials, referred to as controlled products, used in the workplace. Under WHMIS, workers have the right to receive information about each controlled product they use—its identity, associated hazards, and safety precautions.

WHMIS has developed a classification system of six hazard classes. These classes are depicted by eight hazard symbols that identify the specific hazards of controlled products. After a controlled product has been classified, the following three WHMIS elements are used to communicate health and safety information:

  • WHMIS labels
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • WHMIS education and training programs

RESPONSIBILITIES

WHMIS legislation exists at both the federal and provincial levels. Federal legislation establishes which products are controlled under WHMIS and deals with either the importation or sale of these materials. Under WHMIS, those who manufacture, import, sell, or distribute controlled products are referred to as suppliers.

Provincial legislation covers the use of hazardous materials in the workplace and identifies employers’ responsibilities. Workers who work with or near controlled products must know how to handle them safely.

WHEN AN EMPLOYER BECOMES A SUPPLIER

 If employers import or produce a controlled product, even if it is for their own use, they are considered to be the supplier of the controlled product. This means they must provide an up-to-date MSDS and attach a supplier label.

MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS (MSDS)

 A Material Safety Data Sheet is a technical bulletin that provides specific hazard information, safe handling information, and emergency procedures for a controlled product. Since the MSDS contains detailed health and safety information specific to each controlled product, it should be used as a key source of information for developing training programs and safe work procedures.

Sample 9 and 16 section MSDS: http://www2.worksafebc.com/Topics/WHMIS/MSDS.asp

GROUP RESPONSIBILITIES
Suppliers Provide up-to-date MSDSs (not more than 3 years old for all controlled products they sell or produce.
Provide supplier labels on all containers of controlled products they sell or produce.
Employers Ensure that workers understand information on MSDSs, supplier labels, and workplace labels by providing effective worker education.
Provide training in specific safe work procedures to workers who work with or near controlled products.
Ensure that all containers of controlled products in their workplace have MSDSs and WHMIS labels (supplier labels, workplace labels, or other acceptable means of identification as appropriate).
Ensure that MSDSs are readily accessible to workers.
Workers Know and understanding the information on labels and MSDSs.
Use the information they receive through education and training to handle controlled products safely.
Inform employers if labels are illegible or missing.
WCB Prevention Staff in BC Administer WHMIS legislation.
Provide general information about WHMIS to employers and workers.
Ensure compliance with both federal and provincial WHMIS legislation.

LEGISLATION

WHMIS is enforced by a combination of federal and provincial legislation. Federal legislation requires suppliers/importers of hazardous materials (controlled products) to provide adequate labels and MSDSs as a condition of sale and importation.

Federal, provincial, and territorial Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) legislation requires employers to provide labels, MSDSs, and worker education programs in the workplace.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR WORKERS

Employers must establish an education program for their workers to ensure that workers understand WHMIS and the hazards of the controlled products they work with or near. Education programs about WHMIS must be followed up with job-specific training in safe work procedures for handling, storing, and disposing of these controlled products. Workers must also be trained in emergency procedures in the event of an accident or spill.

WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM ONLINE COURSE

This online WHMIS 2015 course aims to prevent workplace injuries, diseases, and deaths resulting from the storage and use of hazardous products. This course implements the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) standard for hazard classification and communication.

Visit https://www.actsafe.ca/courses/workplace-hazardous-materials-information-system-whmis/ or call Actsafe at 604.733.4682 for more details.

WHMIS HAZARD SYMBOLS

There are eight WHMIS hazard symbols. Employers must train workers to recognize these symbols and to know what they mean

Additional References:


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