Health and safety are key aspects of any workplace. There is legislation in place to protect the health of Canadians in the workplace across many industries.

What is WHMIS

By WorkSafeBC regulation, every person working with or near hazardous products must have current WHMIS training.

Workplace hazardous materials information systems, or WHMIS, is Canada’s national hazard communication standard. Health Canada is the government body responsible for the overall WHMIS requirements and laws, but individual provinces also regulate WHMIS in the workplace.

The Workplace hazardous materials information system in Canada

There are three requirements of WHMIS in the workplace: hazard classification, cautionary labelling of containers, and using safety data sheets (SDSs) provided by the government and worker education and training programs.

Hazard Groups

According to WHMIS 2015, all hazardous materials fall into two groups: physical hazards and health hazards.

Physical hazards

Physical hazards are based on the physical or chemical properties of the product. Examples of physical hazards include substances that are flammable or corrosive to metal.

Health Hazards

Health hazards are based on the ability of the product to cause a negative health effect on humans. Examples of health effects include eye irritation, respiratory issues, or substances that are carcinogenic.

Hazard classification

There are various hazards, and WHMIS 2015 has updated and expanded on hazard classifications. Most classifications in WHMIS 2015 are common in the Globally harmonized system; however, some classes are specific to WHMIS 2015.

What are Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Safety Data Sheets are summary documents that provide information about the hazards of a product, and advise safety precautions. SDSS are generally written by the supplier or manufacturer of the product.

Learning to read a safety data sheet

Safety data sheets have more information about the product than the product label. While the label will have icons and warnings, the safety data sheet will detail the dangers of the hazardous material.

Occupational health and safety information courses

Clockwork Training’s WHMIS program is based on the most recent legislation, WHMIS 2015. The course is designed to exceed the requirements for general WHMIS training, helping to ensure the safety of workers. The course is mostly theory, but participants get the opportunity to have hands-on training with some of the most commonly used PPE and equipment used in the workplace, such as gloves, specialty suits, and respirators.

Participants in the course will have to complete a knowledge review test, a minimum score of 70% is required to pass.