The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, or WHMIS, is a system that requires two different types of labels to communicate hazards. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about WHMIS labels.
1. WHMIS labels help people stay safe
The WHMIS plays an important part in workplace safety. WHMIS labels help workers know more information about the hazardous products they are working with, and teach them what to do if there is a spill or an accident.
2. The WHMIS was modified in 2015
The WHMIS was introduced in 1988, but it was modified in 2015 when the GHS, or Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, was implemented in Canada. The new WHMIS helps Canada align with its international trading partners.
There are two different types of WHMIS labels: supplier labels, and workplace labels. Suppliers are responsible for making sure that the hazardous products they provide to their customers are labelled properly, while employers are responsible for their workplace labels.
3. Supplier labels are for products manufactured in Canada
Supplier WHMIS labels are for hazardous products that are manufactured in Canada, or imported for use in Canada. These labels must clearly appear on drums, bottles, and other containers.
4. Workplace labels are for products made at the workplace
Workplace WHMIS labels are for products that are made at the workplace, and used at the workplace. These labels are as important as supplier labels, even though they don’t have a specific graphic format.
5. Supplier labels must follow some requirements
Supplier labels must include important information about each hazardous product, including its common name and its brand name, the hazard pictogram within a red diamond-shaped border, a signal word, hazard statements and precautionary statements, and some additional information.
Supplier WHMIS labels need to be updated as soon as possible when suppliers become aware of important new data. If a hazardous product needs to be placed in a different category, or if there is a new way for people to protect themselves against possible hazards, its label will need an update.
6. Two signal words can be used on WHMIS labels
Only two signal words can be used on WHMIS labels: “Danger”, and “Warning”. “Danger” is used for hazards with a higher risk, and “Warning” can be used when the risk is less important.
7. Supplier labels must be in English and in French
Supplier labels must be written in English and in French. They can be presented as a bilingual label, or two different labels can be placed next to each other, one in English and one in French.
8. Training can be provided by employers
Employers can provide training to their employees to make sure they understand WHMIS supplier and workplace labels, and that they will know how to properly handle and use hazardous products. Training will also teach them what to do in case of an accident.