WHMIS 2015 for Employers

WHMIS 2015 for Employers

The health and safety of your workers
is an important part of doing business. So, it’s important for you to know that a system that helps keep your workers healthy and safe has changed. The Workplace Hazardous Materials
Information System, or WHMIS, provides Canadian workers with information about hazardous products used in the workplace. WHMIS has been in place since 1988. In 2015, WHMIS was updated to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, or GHS. This means that the requirements of WHMIS are now in line with those of the United States and Canada’s other trading partners. So, how is this going to affect your existing WHMIS program? WHMIS 2015 brings significant changes to Hazardous products classification, Labelling requirements, and Safety Data Sheets. Number one. WHMIS 2015 divides hazardous products into two groups: Physical Hazards and Health Hazards. There is a third group – the Environmental
Hazards group – that has not been adopted. But information about environmental hazards may appear on labels and Safety Data Sheets. WHMIS 2015 includes pictograms that
show the type of hazard present. All pictograms, except one, have a red,
diamond-shaped border. The name of the pictogram describes the overall hazard, and most pictograms have a number of
hazard classes and categories. For example, the flame pictogram is used for flammable gases, aerosols, liquids, and solids. Other pictograms describe different hazards, including compressed gases, oxidizing hazards, explosive or reactive substances, corrosive materials, acute toxins, serious health hazards, irritants, environmental hazards, and infectious materials. Number two. The format for a supplier label is flexible, but the label must contain the following: Product identifier, Pictograms, Signal word, Hazard statements, Precautionary statements, and Supplier identifier. Supplier labels need to be easy to read, durable, and available in English and French. In general, if a hazardous product is transferred to another container for use in the workplace, you must apply a workplace label. Workplace labels must be applied to: Secondary containers, Hazardous products made and used in a workplace, and Containers with lost or damaged supplier labels. Workplace labels must contain the following: product identifier or name, safe handling information, and reference to the Safety Data Sheet. Number three. Safety Data Sheets, or SDS, must accompany all hazardous products. They provide in-depth information about hazardous products and give advice about safety precautions
and what to do in an emergency. WHMIS 2015 requires a 16-section data sheet. Twelve of these sections are mandatory,
and four are optional. To give suppliers, employers, and workers
time to adjust to the new system, WHMIS 2015 will be phased in over the next three years. By the end of phase 1, all manufacturers and importers will have updated their labels and Safety Data Sheets for all hazardous products. By the end of phase 2, all remaining distributors will have complied with the changes. Phase 3 will complete the transition by the end of 2018 for all workers, employers, and manufacturers. At this point, you need to make sure you have obtained the new labels and Safety Data Sheets and updated your worker education and training. These are your responsibilities. WHMIS 2015 provides improved, consistent hazard information to Canadian workers. It also encourages the safe use and handling of hazardous products across all industries, and contributes to the global effort for chemical safety. WHMIS 2015 helps ensure a healthier and safer workplace for all workers and employers.


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