If you work in a Canadian workplace that involves hazardous materials, you've likely heard of WHMIS - the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. 
It's a comprehensive system that aims to provide information about hazardous materials to employees, thereby reducing the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace. 
WHMIS 2015 is the latest version that aligns with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). 
Canadian workplaces must implement and maintain a WHMIS program that adheres to these updated regulations. 
In this blog, we'll explore who is responsible for WHMIS training and the importance of this training for the safety of the employees. So let's start!

Is WHMIS Applicable to Your Business?

WHMIS, or the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, is a crucial system in Canada that ensures the safety and health of employees by providing them with information and training on hazardous products in the workplace. 

Every employer in Canada is responsible for ensuring their employees receive proper training on WHMIS onsite or get an online WHMIS certification, regardless of the size or type of business. 

The new WHMIS 2015 aligns with the GHS or Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. In addition, it has revised hazard classification criteria and the inclusion of Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Hazardous products, according to WHMIS 2015, include:

  1. Chemicals that are capable of causing harm to human health or safety
  2. Substances that can cause explosions, fires, or other dangerous reactions
  3. Biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi
  4. Radioactive materials
  5. Hazardous waste products
  6. Compressed gases or liquids under pressure
  7. Flammable and combustible materials
  8. Corrosive materials
  9. Reactive materials such as oxidizers, peroxides, and water-reactive substances

Roles and Responsibilities:

Employers have a significant role and responsibility in ensuring the safety and well-being of their employees in the workplace. One of the crucial ways they can do this is by providing adequate WHMIS training to their employees that ensure the safety of workers who handle hazardous materials in the workplace.
To comply with WHMIS, employers must develop a program that meets the requirements outlined by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). This program must include proper labeling, safety data sheets, employee training, and other policies and procedures.

Developing a WHMIS program can seem overwhelming, but it is a critical step in keeping employees safe from the dangers of hazardous materials. In this program, employers must identify hazardous materials in the workplace, provide WHMIS training to their employees, obtain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all hazardous materials, implement proper hazardous material labeling, develop policies and procedures, and regularly assess the program's effectiveness.
By implementing a comprehensive WHMIS program, employers can ensure that their employees are aware of the potential dangers in the workplace and equipped to handle them safely.

When is WHMIS Training Required?

Employers in Canada are legally required to provide comprehensive training to their employees on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to ensure their safety and well-being. 
The frequency of this training depends on the specific work environment, and employers must update their training programs in case of any changes to industry regulations or standards. Therefore, regularly reviewing the training policies and procedures is crucial to ensure their effectiveness.
Well-trained employees are crucial for maintaining a safe workplace, and they should know how to identify hazardous materials, understand the safety data sheets (SDS), and interpret hazard labels. Additionally, they should know the proper procedures for handling, storing, and disposing hazardous materials and the emergency response plan in case of spills or accidents.
Some situations may require more frequent re-training, such as changes in job responsibilities, the introduction of new hazardous materials, or new equipment. 
Employers should coordinate with their health and safety representatives or joint health and safety committees to ensure they meet all legal requirements and provide their employees with a safe working environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which government department is responsible for WHMIS?

For federal workplaces, the Labour Branch of Human Resources Development Canada is in charge of enforcing WHMIS, while for most other workplaces, it is the provincial or territorial organizations in charge of occupational health and safety.

Who are the three 3 parties that have various WHMIS responsibilities?

Owners, managers, and employers are the 3 parties that share various responsibilities of WHIMS. The first 2 groups should be focused on arranging the training; the workers must understand and complete it.

Final Words

In conclusion, WHMIS training is a legal requirement for companies that deal with hazardous materials. 
We hope that we have answered who is responsible for WHMIS training. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees are trained on WHMIS and that the training is up-to-date and reviewed regularly. 
Proper WHMIS training ensures that employees have the knowledge and skills needed to work safely with hazardous materials, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace. Companies can create a safer and healthier work environment for all employees by making onsite or online safety training a priority.