WHMIS Moving to a Globally Harmonized System (GHS)


Published on: 25/11/2014

Health Canada is changing the Federal WHMIS legislation to bring it in line with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). The process has moved through the ‘North American level’ discussions between Canada and the US via the Joint Regulatory Cooperation Council, and is on the verge of being approved federally in Canada.

Health Canada notes that the current roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers, and workers likely will not change in WHMIS after GHS. Employers will need to update their education and training of workers to include the new format of labels and data sheets.

Employers must continue to:

• Educate and train workers on the hazards and safe use of products.

• Ensure that hazardous materials are properly labelled.

• Prepare workplace labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) as necessary.

• Provide access for workers to up-to-date SDSs.

• Ensure appropriate control measures are in place to protect the health and safety of workers.

Workers will still:

• Participate in WHMIS and chemical safety training programs.

• Take necessary steps to protect themselves and their coworkers.

• Participate in identifying and controlling hazards.

Canadian construction employers may start to see the new format Data Sheets and Hazard Symbols on construction sites as early as Spring 2015.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and Health Canada are very interested in feedback at this time. CCOHS has created a variety of resources to assist employers in Canada, as outlined below:

News Release: (http://www.ccohs.ca/newsroom/news_releases/GHS_29September2014.html)

General questions and answers: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/ghs.html

Fact Sheets: http://www.ccohs.ca/products/publications/whmis_ghs/

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