WHMIS is a detailed plan for the safe workplace use of hazardous materials. Employers are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of workers who may be exposed to WHMIS-controlled products.
Employers must ensure their workers know the hazards of controlled products through a general WHMIS training program. They must also provide workplace-specific training programs, product labelling and readily-available safety information documents.
With the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) in Canada, WHMIS has changed. This modified version is referred to as WHMIS 2015.
Changes to Saskatchewan’s WHMIS legislation include:
- A new name for controlled products. They will now be called hazardous products.
- New rules related to the classification of workplace chemicals.
- New labelling requirements using pictograms instead of symbols.
- A new name for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). They will now be referred to as Safety Data Sheets [SDS] and require a different format.
The key responsibilities of suppliers, employers and workers remain the same.
Saskatchewan has amended its legislation to reflect the new requirements: Effective January 1, 2016, housekeeping amendments were made to Part III of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
Amendments to the requirements for employers and workers within The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996, and The Occupational Health and Safety (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) Regulations will take effect on August 17, 2016. Workplaces will have until December 1, 2018 to come into full compliance. During the transition period, workplaces need to be fully compliant with the existing provisions or with the new WHMIS 2015, but not both.
WHMIS.org provides information on WHMIS requirements, legislation and training resources across Canada. Online training for WHMIS 2015 is available through WorkSafe Saskatchewan.
WHMIS Supplier Initiative
The Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety will be conducting an inspection campaign between July 2017 and March 2018 to promote the compliance with Federal laws by WHMIS suppliers. Similar compliance promotion activities will be happening across Canada. The main objective of this project is to build a list of suppliers in each jurisdiction.
Occupational Health and Safety Officers are responsible for promoting and enforcing regulatory requirements for WHMIS at the Provincial and Federal levels. In 2015, the Federal government updated WHMIS laws to adopt a harmonized system of labeling and classification. Some of the changes to Federal WHMIS law included:
- New definitions;
- New criteria for classification; and
- New rules for labels and safety data sheets.
Additionally, employers who import or sell hazardous products in Canada are required to keep specific purchasing information and specific sales information for a period of six years. These requirements are outlined in section 14.3 of the Hazardous Products Act.
If you are an inspector, you may also request a copy of your specific purchasing information and/or specific sales information and up to five safety data sheets and corresponding labels for hazardous products. If you have any questions, please call the Provincial WHMIS Coordinator at 1-800-567-7233.
If you are a WHMIS supplier and would like to receive compliance promotion information, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.