WHMIS Training

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

What is WHMIS?

WHMIS is a set of laws, developed jointly by industry, labor and government. The system is designed to protect Canadians who work with hazardous materials.

How will workers be protected by WHMIS?

They will be given information about the hazardous materials in their workplace, including:

  • the type of hazard
  • how to protect themselves
  • what to do in case of emergency

How will they get this information?

  • a label, called a workplace label, will be on each package or container of hazardous material used in the workplace. A supplier label will also be attached
  • a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will be available to workers for every type of hazardous material in their workplace
  • an education program will teach workers to understand and use the information on labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

What "hazardous materials" are regulated?

Any product or material which meets the criteria for one of these 6 classes:

  • A compressed gas
  • B flammable or combustible
  • C oxidizing
  • D poisonous or infectious
  • E corrosive
  • F dangerously reactive

Some hazardous materials are not regulated under WHMIS. These include:

  • explosives
  • radioactive
  • pesticides
  • hazardous wastes
  • consumer products
  • cosmetics, food and drugs
  • wood and tobacco
  • manufactured articles

Who will be affected?

Suppliers will have to classify and label their products, and provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). Employers must make sure that the labels are in place, that MSDSs are available, and must train workers to understand the labels and MSDSs.

Workers will use this information to protect themselves from the dangers of injury or illness which are often caused by hazardous materials in the workplace.

What are the penalties for those who do not comply?

For ticketable offenses:

  • lines up to one hundred thousand dollars
  • jail term up to 6 months

For indictable offenses:

  • fines up to one million dollars
  • jail terms up to 2 years

Who can be charged?

Anyone involved can be charged, including officers and directors of a corporation.

What steps should I take?

  • Establish a complete list of all hazardous materials which are used, produced or stored on your premises
  • make sure you have an up-to-date MSDS on hand for each hazardous material, which includes the 9 items of information required by the Regulations
  • make sure that each container of hazardous material is properly labeled. The label must have a distinctive WHMIS border and must include certain information required by the Regulations
  • set up a worker education program to teach employees how to use the information on labels and MSDSs to protect themselves