What is WHMIS and why should I bother?

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Jan 25, 2010 – Here’s  a quick heads up for those of you who are wondering about an acronym called WHMIS (sounds very close to “whims”, doesn’t it). Well for those of you who are not familiar with Canadian law (not expected anyway, unless you live or work in a Canadian facility), WHMIS is the acronym for Workplace Hazard Materials Information System. It is a comprehensive plan for providing information on the safe use of hazardous materials used in Canadian workplaces. Information is provided by means of product labels, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and worker education programs.

It is a legal requirement if you are running a factory or doing other business related to the chemical industry in Canada, formulated and enforced by Canada’s own OSHA-like body, called CCOHS (Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety).

The majority of the “information” requirements (and exemptions) of WHMIS legislation were incorporated into the HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS ACT and the HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION REVIEW ACT. These apply to all of Canada.

Suppliers, employers and workers all have different specific responsibilities under these acts.  For more information please visit http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/intro_whmis.html

So if you are in anyway connected with the Canadian chemicals or petrochemical and allied industries,  dealing in controlled chemicals, you better be familiar with WHMIS.


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