Volume 5, Issue 3

WHMIS is Changing

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is important to the safety of anyone working with chemicals. WHMIS and its associated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are Canada’s national hazard communication standard. Since 1988 WHMIS has helped Canadians working with hazardous chemicals to quickly know about the safety and health hazards that may be associated with the materials or chemicals they use at work. Having this knowledge is a worker’s right. In 2003 the United Nations adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals or GHS. (See the full official text here.) This is a standardized system of all international trade of hazardous chemicals. GHS legislation has passed in Canada and will be know as WHMIS 2015, and until the official implementation WHMIS will be in a period of transition. December 1, 2018 will mark the official start of Canada’s transition from WHMIS to GHS, as well as the implementation of the related Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) which will replace the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) . The completion of this transition will be in June 2019. By this date, Canadian suppliers will have to produce GHS labels and SDSs. Some of Cabra clients are all ready requesting that our contractors have WHMIS 2015 for Workers which can be taken for FREE through Canadian Centre for Occupation Health and Safety (http://ccohs.ca/products/courses/whmis_workers/). Cabra is recommending that our contractors take the free course as soon as possible and send a copy of the certificate to Tanis Deering at tdeering@cabra.ca. WHMIS 2015 for Workers training includes:  New Hazard pictograms (some are similar to existing WHMIS symbols, others are new);  New hazard classes;  New labels and their required elements such as signal words;  The meaning of all signal words and hazard statement (e.g., Danger, May cause cancer) found on labels and SDSs in the workplace;  New SDS (formerly MSDS) format and how to locate information needed to work safely with a product.

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