Under WHMIS 2015, employers will continue to:
- Educate and train workers on the hazards and safe use of products
- Ensure that hazardous products (formerly Controlled Products) are properly labelled
- Prepare workplace labels and safety data sheets (SDSs formerly MSDSs) as necessary
- Provide access for workers to up-to-date SDSs and labels
Employers should be aware that there are:
- New hazard class names, for example, Class A – Compressed Gases will be Gases under Pressure
- New classification rules or criteria
- A few new hazard classes, for example, Aspiration Hazard
These changes mean that the hazards of products may be described differently, and some products that were not previously classified may now be classified as hazardous.
New requirements for supplier labels include standardized pictograms, signal words, hazard statements, and precautionary statements. Most hazard classes and categories have a prescribed pictogram, signal word, hazard statement and precautionary statements. Supplier labels are required in both English and French.
Workplace labels must have the Product name (matching the SDS product name), safe handling precautions (may include pictograms or other supplier label information) and a reference to the SDS (if available).
Worker access to labels is a continuing requirement. Employers must provide labels for all hazardous products used in the workplace.
There is an exemption period for updating labels (and SDSs) when significant new data becomes available. The significant new data must be provided separately until the update is complete.
SDSs follow a standard 16-section format. There are some new information requirements, for example, inclusion of the WHMIS 2015 classification, hazard statements and other label elements in Section 2. The SDS must provided in both English and French.
Worker access to SDSs is a continuing requirement. Employers must provide SDSs for all hazardous products used in the workplace.
There is an exemption period for updating SDSs (and labels) when significant new data becomes available. The significant new data must be provided separately until the update is complete.
Education and Training
Employers are required to educate and train workers about WHMIS 2015. Revised training programs, developed in consultation with the health and safety committee, are to include:
- 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 statements (e.g., Danger. May cause cancer) found on labels and SDSs in the workplace
- New SDS format and how to locate information needed to work safely with a product
- Worksite-specific training ensures workers are aware of the hazards of specific products in their workplace, and the procedures and other measures to work safely with those hazardous products
WHMIS 2015 SDSs and labels for products originating within and outside of Canada will share common elements. This change will simplify education and training.