Since 2015 WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) has been undergoing a series of changes in order to adapt a system known worldwide as the Globally Harmonized System. These amendments were implemented through a three-phase system that began on February 11, 2015 and will be completed by November 30, 2018. Throughout these phases manufacturers, importers, distributors, and suppliers were all required to meet specific obligations as laid out in the provincial implementation plan.
Phase three of this system (September 1st, 2018 to November 30th, 2018) allowed employers a three-month time period to ensure that they are only receiving hazardous products containing WHMIS 2015 labels and safety data sheets, and to allow time for existing inventories to be brought into compliance with the WHMIS 2015 requirements.
As of December 1st, 2018, it is required that the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015 must be completed for all manufacturers, importers, distributors, suppliers, and employers. What this means for employers is that as of December 1st, 2018 all employers are required to first ensure that there are no hazardous products found in the workplace containing labels used originating from the 1988 WHMIS system; instead, they must be labelled in accordance with requirements found in WHMIS 2015.
Secondly, the employer must also ensure that any material safety data sheets in the workplace (MSDS contain 9 sections) are replaced with safety data sheets that are compliant with the WHMIS 2015 system (SDS containing 16 sections).
Finally, the employer must ensure that all workers are familiar with the new WHMIS system and the new labels and safety data sheets in the workplace. This is typically done through training them on how to identify each of the symbols used, showing them examples of the new labels found on products within the workplace, and reviewing safety data sheets with workers to ensure they understand how to read them and where to find them. This training can be done in house or you can have a third-party, such as Industrial Safety Trainers, conduct this training for you.
Should you have a need for training in the WHMIS 2015 system or if you require further information concerning the implementation of WHMIS 2015 within your workplace, Industrial Safety Trainers is able to assist you.