Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, commonly known as WHMIS, is a comprehensive system that helps ensure the safety of workers by providing information about hazardous materials that may be present in the workplace.
Worker safety is why WHMIS training certification is a prerequisite for working in a hazardous environment. One key aspect of this system is the WHMIS label, which includes essential information about the hazards associated with a particular product.
The WHMIS label is an essential tool for any worker who may come into contact with hazardous materials in the course of their work. This label contains critical information about the product, such as its name, the name of the supplier, and any hazardous ingredients that may be present. It also includes important warnings and precautions, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) or avoiding certain types of contact with the product.
Understanding what information is required on a WHMIS label is crucial for workers' safety in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, and healthcare. Without this information, workers may be at risk of exposure to hazardous materials that could cause serious health problems, such as respiratory issues, chemical burns, or even death.
This blog explores the difference between WHMIS labels for suppliers and workplaces, the components of these labels, the importance of understanding this information, and how workers can protect themselves from the hazards associated with hazardous materials.
So, let's dive in and learn more about WHMIS and its critical role in ensuring workplace safety.
2 Types of WHMIS Labels: Overview
For the safety of workers and suppliers, WHMIS labels are classified into two major categories including:
- Supplier labels
- Workplace labels
Let's explore each label individually to understand the differences and the components in detail.
Note: As there are various differences between WHMIS 2015 and 1988, we are focusing on the latest requirements.
The Supplier Label
The supplier label is a type of label used in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to identify hazardous products that are supplied or imported into Canada.
This label is provided by the manufacturer or supplier of the product and is intended to convey important information about the product's hazards to downstream users.
The following are present on a supplier label:
- Product name/identifier
- Signal Words
- Hazard Statements
- Supplier contact information
Understanding the information provided on the supplier label is crucial for safely handling and using hazardous products in the workplace and this is what makes WHMIS training essential for the workers.
Workers can take appropriate precautions to protect themselves and others from harm by being aware of the hazards associated with a particular product.
The Workplace Label
The workplace label is a type of label used in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to identify hazardous materials in the workplace. This label is created by the employer and is used to convey important information about the hazardous material to workers who may come into contact with it.
The workplace label is affixed to containers of hazardous materials that are transferred from their original supplier containers to other containers, such as spray bottles or storage tanks.
The elements of a workplace label include:
- Product name
- Precautionary statements
- Reference to SDS
Creating and affixing workplace labels is essential to develop a comprehensive WHMIS training program.
By ensuring that hazardous materials in the workplace are properly labelled and that workers are trained to understand the information on those labels, employers can help prevent accidents and injuries related to hazardous materials.
What Information Must Be on a WHMIS Supplier Label?
The supplier labels' information must be in English and French. So, along with the message delivered in 2 languages, this information should be visible on the WHMIS supplier label.
||Product identifier or the name of the product should appear as a standard on a container and Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
||Standard signal words such as "Warning" and "Danger" need to be listed on the hazardous product depending upon the severity of hazards.
||Hazard pictograms can accurately reflect the product characteristics, it is mainly determined by hazard classification. In some cases, pictograms are not required.
||Precautionary measures listed on the WHMIS labels can help the suppliers safely handle the product. It can list the handling procedure, emergency response instructions, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
||A company is responsible for importing and selling the produce so they are also responsible for SDS and labels. They can contact the supplier for additional information.
|Supplemental label information
||Supplemental label information such as fire-fighting measures, first-aid measures, and environmental precautions. This information can help reflect the information related to responses in case of emergencies.
||These brief standardised statements can help the supplier understand the hazards associated with a specific product. Supplier labels can include hazard statements such as "flammable liquid" and "can cause respiratory issues".
What information must be on a WHMIS Workplace Label?
A WHMIS workplace label must contain key information to ensure the safe handling and use of hazardous materials in the workplace. This information includes the product identifier, hazard pictograms, precautionary measures, and a reference to the material's Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
||Product identifier is a key element of the WHMIS workplace labels that identifies the name or number used by the employer to identify the hazardous material. Examples of product identifiers include the product name, code, or batch number.
||The hazard pictograms help to quickly and easily convey important hazard information to workers, and enable them to take appropriate precautions when handling or working with hazardous materials.
||Precautionary measures are a set of instructions provided on WHMIS labels to help workers safely handle and use the hazardous material. Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are properly trained to understand and follow the precautionary measures on the WHMIS label.
|Reference to SDS
||A reference to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is a key element on WHMIS workplace labels that provides additional information on the hazards associated with the hazardous material. The reference to SDS on the WHMIS label helps to ensure that workers have access to more comprehensive information on the hazardous material.
Employers are responsible for WHMIS training and ensuring that all hazardous materials in the workplace are properly labelled with this information and that workers are trained to understand the information on those labels. This helps to prevent accidents and injuries related to hazardous materials in the workplace.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many components are required on a WHMIS label?
There are 4 required components on a WHMIS label, including product name, pictogram, precautionary statement, and reference to SDS.
What are three things required on a workplace label?
The three things required on a workplace label are product identifiers, hazard pictograms, and precautionary measures.
A WHMIS label is a vital tool for communicating important information about hazardous materials in the workplace. Therefore, it is essential to understand what information is required on a WHMIS label.
Ensuring the safety of workers and preventing accidents or injuries should be a top priority for employers. This can be achieved by providing comprehensive onsite or online safety courses, appropriate equipment, and well-established procedures.