IMPORTANT NOTE: this page focuses on WHMIS / WHMIS 1988. For more information about WHMIS 2015 / GHS visit WHMIS 2015.
What is WHMIS?
WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. It is a Canada-wide system, introduced in 1988 and designed to classify and communicate information about workplace chemical hazards and thereby protect worker health and safety. WHMIS is enacted by laws both at the federal and provincial / territorial levels. In Ontario, WHMIS is enacted by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the WHMIS regulation (Regulation 860).
WHMIS is Changing
WHMIS or WHMIS 1988 (as it now sometimes called) has been updated by GHS. GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The adoption of GHS in Canada is changing WHMIS. This new WHMIS is called WHMIS 2015. For more information about the changes, what they mean to you, and how WSPS can help visit WHMIS 2015.
What the law says
WHMIS legislation specifies duties for suppliers, employers and workers. By law, employers must provide workers with training about the generic components of WHMIS including labels and material safety data sheets. Employers must also provide workplace-specific training to workers so that they know how to safely use, store, handle and dispose of the specific chemicals used in their workplace.
How WHMIS can affect your business
A safe environment is a productive workplace. Health and safety is not simply a legal obligation or the right thing to do - it is a business opportunity. Effective training and processes reduce the cost of avoidable losses, insurance, lost-time injuries, fines and penalties. You can boost your bottom line through reduced injuries, higher productivity and improved health and safety performance.
What you can do
- Keep an up-to-date inventory of every hazardous material in your workplace.
- Have a system for assembling information on each of the hazardous materials, including MSDSs, which are provided by your suppliers.
- Provide training that prepares your staff to recognize and safely work with hazardous materials.
(M)SDS Management Service™
Managing chemical safety and WHMIS compliance just got easier.
Now available through WSPS, the CCOHS online (M)SDS Management Service
™ puts all of your material/safety data sheets (M/SDS) in one convenient, secure location for your staff to access anytime. The service also:
- Keeps your M/SDS current
- Makes them available anytime to an unlimited number of users
- Offers choice from an English or French interface
- Gives you complimentary access to the CCOHS full library of over 400,000 M/SDSs for chemical products and to the CMEMINFO database of comprehensive, practical information on workplace chemicals.
Find out how easy and cost-effective it is to have a customized, current and complete M/SDS collection. Visit: www.wsps.ca/MSDS.
For more information, call 1-877-494-WSPS (9777).