Keys to Canadian Worker Safety
Health Canada’s WHMIS or Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System is the Canadian national hazard communications standard. It parallels the United States OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS or HazCom). Both of these have been aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).
The mission of these systems is to keep people safe by:
- educating workers about items that could cause injury in the workplace—particularly, hazardous chemicals, and training workers for safe handling, use and storage of these chemicals
- requiring manufacturers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that are easily accessible in the workplace, and related product labels for every hazardous chemical. These describe what hazardous chemicals are included in the product and how to respond should a worker be improperly exposed to a hazardous chemical.
The key elements to WHMIS include:
- Hazard classification
- Cautionary labelling of containers
- The requirement to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
- Guidelines on worker training and education
In 2015 there were significant updates to WHMIS related to GHS compliance. These were implemented in a multi-year transition. Now there are compliance regulation updates that are reviewed, approved and implemented every few years. Quantum has been supporting customers with alerts and insights about these updates. Here are links to a few of these.
You can stay current regarding WHMIS requirements by connecting to the Canadian federal government WHMIS site and by connecting with us at Quantum.