WHMIS: Are your employees trained to safely handle hazardous materials?

WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) and GHS (Globally Harmonized System) are world-wide systems providing information on hazardous materials used in the workplace. Employees need to know how to work safely, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to implement costly training programs.

Which of my employees are required to take this training?
Every Canadian jurisdiction requires WHMIS/GHS training to protect workers who work with hazardous materials. Instruction on requirements for labels and data sheets, information on how products may affect workers' health or safety, and training in safe work procedures are necessary. Please review the Health Canada website for further information on WHMIS.

Where can we access training?
As a CFIB member, you and your employees have access to free WHMIS training through our Savings program Partner, Vubiz. This training provides a good foundation with regards to WHMIS and can be used as a starting point for your workplace training.

A WHMIS training program must be tailored to each individual workplace and address the following issues:

  • The contents, purpose, and significance of the information required on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs).
  • A sufficient explanation of any special labelling or identification systems used by the employer to deal with the controlled product (employees must be able to interpret its symbols).
  • Procedures for the safe use, storage, handling, and disposal of controlled products.
  • The proper use and care of personal protective equipment.
  • Procedures for special storage systems, working in the presence of hazardous emissions and for emergencies involving controlled products.
  • Product-specific training on health and safety hazards.

It is up to the employer to ensure that each worker, who is required to have WHMIS training, understands the training material and is able to put the training into practice while on the job. An employer must review the training program yearly or more often if conditions at the workplace change or if new information on a controlled product becomes available.

Are there any resources that can help me understand the requirements?
Other resources for WHMIS/GHS are also available:

Our Business Advisors are also available to answer your WHMIS questions. You can reach them at 1-833-568-2342 or cfib@cfib.ca