WHMIS Summary

WHMIS Summary

​WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) became law in Canada in 1988 (WHMIS 1988). In 2015, WHMIS was updated to align with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals or GHS (WHMIS 2015). Due to the WHMIS 2015 update, employers using WHMIS 1988 requirements are now required to transition to WHMIS 2015 for any applicable hazardous products in their workplaces. Beginning December 1, 2018, all hazardous products in the workplace must comply with WHMIS 2015 requirements.

Under WHMIS 2015 a hazardous product is any product that falls under a category or sub-category in one or more of the hazard classes described in the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). WHMIS 2015 applies to hazardous products that are sold in or imported into Canada by suppliers, importers and distributors. Hazardous products that are meant to be used, handled or stored in Canadian workplaces by employers and workers also fall under WHMIS 2015.

Under WHMIS 2015, employers must ensure products are safely used, handled and stored in the workplace, as required by federal, provincial and territorial legislation. They must ensure hazardous products are properly labelled, safety data sheets (SDSs) are accessible by all workers, and the workers are properly educated and trained on the safe use, handling, and storage of the hazardous products.

Products used in the workplace that are completely or partially excluded from WHMIS 2015 requirements must still be assessed for their risk to worker safety and health, by the employer, under the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation, Part 36. Under this regulation, the employer is also responsible for creating safe work procedures for, and providing training on, the safe handling of that particular hazardous product.

WHMIS 2015 Labels


Supplier Labels

Supplier labels appear on hazardous products purchased from suppliers. They provide information about a product's hazards and about handling the product safely.

Labels must be updated by suppliers within 180 days when significant new data about a hazardous product becomes available. However, if a sale is made within 180 days from the date upon which the significant new data became available, then the significant new data, and the date upon which it became available, must be provided in writing to the purchaser of the hazardous product.

Workplace Labels

Workplace labels can be used on hazardous products that have been transferred from the supplier's containers to workplace containers, manufactured at the workplace for use in the workplace, etc. Workplace labels are less detailed than supplier labels.

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

SDSs contain more information about the hazardous product compared to the supplier or workplace labels. This information includes the properties of the hazardous products, its hazards and how to work safely with it.

A SDS must be available for every hazardous product in the workplace that is included under WHMIS 2015. In addition, the SDS must be current and must be kept in a workplace location that is easily accessible to the workforce.. 

When significant new data becomes available for a hazardous product, SDSs must be updated by suppliers within 90 days. However, if sales are made during this period, the significant new data, and the date when it became available, must be provided to the buyer, in writing, along with the products SDS at the time of sale. This also applies to employers who produce a hazardous product.
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