The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is changing. Since 1988, WHMIS has been Canada’s hazard communication system for workplace chemicals. WHMIS is adopting new international standards for classifying hazardous chemicals and providing information on labels and safety data sheets. These new international standards are part of the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and are being phased in across Canada between February 2015 and December 2018.
Main Differences Between WHMIS 1988 & WHMIS 2015
- Under WHMIS 2015, controlled products are now called hazardous products.
- There are new rules for classifying hazardous workplace chemicals.
- There are two main hazard classes – physical hazards and health hazards.
- There are new label requirements, including pictograms instead of symbols that correspond to hazard classes.
- There is a different format for safety data sheets.
The key responsibilities of suppliers, employers, and workers are the same under WHMIS 2015.
When the new WHMIS standard will be applicable to your workplace
The addition of this regulation to the Act means that you need to make changes to your chemical labeling and receiving system. Notably, there are now official deadlines to change from the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) system of labelling to the SDS (Safety Data Sheets), used in the Globally Harmonized System.
- June 1st, 2018: All chemical manufacturers and importers must sell hazardous products with labels and safety data sheets that comply with the new WHMIS 2015 requirements.
- June 1st, 2018 to August 31st, 2018: Chemical distributors and employers may continue to receive and sell chemicals with WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 labels and safety data sheets.
- September 1st, 2018: All chemical distributors must sell hazardous products that comply with WHMIS 2015 requirements only.
- September 1st, 2018 to November 30th, 2018: Employers should be receiving chemicals with WHMIS 2015 labels and safety data sheets. They have these 3 months to bring existing inventory to compliance.
- December 1st, 2018: The transition process must be complete and there should be no hazardous products in the workplace with old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets.
Training obligations during WHMIS 2015 transition
During this transition, if your workplace uses or receives products with WHMIS 1988 and/or WHMIS 2015 labels and safety data sheets, your employees need to be trained accordingly!
OSG is here to help you stay up to date on WHMIS training. We offer training Online, On-Site and through our Train-the-Trainer program! View our WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 courses today!
Updated: May 29th, 2017