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WHMIS Information

Safety Office


Introduction

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is a national system designed to ensure that all employers obtain the information that they need and inform and train their employees properly about hazardous materials used in the workplace. WHMIS falls under the worker's "right to know" (One of the four rights of workers) more about safety and health hazards of materials used in the workplace. WHMIS only applies to products that meet certain criteria, referred to as controlled products.

WHMIS comprises three major elements:

1. Labels

2. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

3. Worker Education

WHMIS labels provide the essential information that a person needs in order to handle a particular product safely. SDSs provide basic technical information about a product's physical characteristics and its hazardous properties. The Worker Education element ensures that workers are able to apply the information to protect worker health and safety.

Employers are responsible for obtaining from suppliers an SDS for each controlled product used in their workplace. The employer may also develop an SDS in place of a supplier SDS, providing that the employer SDS contains at least the same content found on the supplier SDS and indicates that a supplier SDS is available.

There have been questions about whether SDSs are to be updated at least every three (3) years under WHMIS 2015. Changes to the Hazardous Products Regulation only require suppliers to update the SDS when there are significant changes to the product. To maintain worker safety and to remain compliant with provincial and territorial legislation suppliers are still required to ensure that SDSs are up-to-date, accurate and compliant with HPR at the time of each sale or importation of the product. The SDSs are to be readily accessible to workers close to their work areas.

Please return SDSs and MSDSs which have been replaced to the Safety Office for retention as they must be kept for thirty (30) years.