Under WHMIS, employers must:

  • Educate and train workers on the hazards and safe use of products
  • Ensure that hazardous products are properly labelled
  • Prepare workplace labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) as necessary
  • Provide access for workers to up-to-date SDSs and labels
  • Classification

    • When employers purchase a hazardous product, they must receive a current SDS from the supplier that describes the classification.
    • Employers must know where to find information about the hazard classification and the safe use and handling of the products used in the workplace.
    • Employers who produce hazardous products for use in their own workplaces have the duty to assess the hazards, classify the hazards of the products, and provide proper labels and SDSs.


    Employers must ensure that all hazardous products used in the workplace are labelled. If employers receive hazardous products that are not labelled with a WHMIS-compliant label, they can only use the product in the workplace after they bring the label into compliance.

    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).

    There is a supplier exemption period for updating labels (and SDSs) when significant new data become available. The significant new data must be provided separately until the update is complete.


    Employers must provide workers access to SDSs for all hazardous products used in the workplace.

    SDSs follow a standard 16-section format with specified headings. The SDS must be provided in both English and French.

    The SDSs must be accurate at the time of sale or import for each sale or import. It is a requirement to update the SDS when significant new information becomes available. 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. The training programs, developed in consultation with the health and safety committee, should include:

    1. Education
      • Hazard pictograms
      • Hazard classes
      • Labels and their required elements
      • The meaning of all signal words and hazard statements (e.g., Danger. May cause cancer) found on labels and SDSs in the workplace
      • The SDS format and how to locate information needed to work safely with a product.
    2. Training
      • Worksite-specific training ensures workers know the hazards of specific products in their workplace and the procedures and other measures to work safely with those hazardous products.