Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System or WHMIS provides workers with information regarding hazardous materials. In 2015 WHMIS was updated in Canada to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) established by the United Nations. For clarity the new updated WHMIS is now referred to as WHMIS 2015. WHMIS 2015 contains two main hazard groups, physical hazards and health hazards. Physical hazards are hazards related to the physical or chemical properties of a material such as flammability or corrosively. Health hazards refer to effects on health that exposure to a material may have, including eye irritants or carcinogens for example. Currently Canada is in the process of transitioning to WHMIS 2015, for BCCF as an employer has until December 1, 2018 to comply with all new aspects and legislation related to WHMIS 2015. BCCF will train and educate their workers accordingly during this transition, meaning:
- BCCF will continue to comply with WHMIS 1988 until such time that there are materials present in the workplace that require SDSs and WHMIS labels as set out in WHMIS 2015; and
- BCCF will provide new training and education to staff regarding WHMIS labelling and hazard identification at such time that a product requiring an SDS and label complying with WHMIS 2015 is received at a workplace; and
- BCCF will comply with both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 concurrently until such time WHMIS 2015 can be fully adopted in 2018.
Products exempt from WHMIS 2015 because they are covered by other Acts and Regulations include:
- Consumer products (Canada Consumer Product Safety Act)
- Cosmetics, drugs, foods and/or devices (Food and Drug Act)
- Explosives (Explosives Act)
- Hazardous waste
- Manufactured articles
- Nuclear substances (Nuclear Safety and Control Act)
- Pest control products (Pest Control Products Act)
- Tobacco and Tobacco products (Tobacco Act)
- Wood or products made of wood.
BCCF WHMIS program shall include applicable products should they be present in our locations. This includes the provision of up-to-date, no older than 3 years, Safety Data Sheets (previously
Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) in a binder located at a known location in each BCCF office.
As an employer BCCF is responsible for ensuring hazard products in the workplace have labels meeting WHMIS requirements and that all applicable staff are provided with WHMIS education and/or training. Any worker that will be working with or may be exposed to hazardous materials must be made aware of these hazards and trained in how to handle these hazards and materials. Orientation must ensure that employees for which WHMIS is applicable have completed WHMIS training and/or are capable of:
- reading and understanding hazardous material labels;
- know the location of SDS sheets; and
- Understand the information provided on SDS sheets and thus the hazards associated with that product and how to handle spills or exposure (control measures and required PPE).
BCCF Employees will:
- Follow instructions on use of hazardous material as described by the SDSs, the label and on-the-job training;
- Ensure that a label is on a hazardous material and that they can read and understand it prior to use, and ask their Project Coordinator, Safety Coordinator, Regional Manager, Supervisor and/or Field Lead if they are unsure;
- Not use any product for which they are not trained, do not know how to safely use, is not labelled or labelled clearly; and
- Not engage in any activities with substances that fall beyond the scope of their normal use or may cause additional or unforeseen hazards for themselves or others.