WHIMIS 2015 and GHS- are you ready?

In 2015, WHMIS aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS), a worldwide hazard communication system.

The main components of WHMIS 2015 are hazard identification, product classification, labeling, safety data sheets (SDS), and worker education and training.

What Changed?

  • Hazard classes (now tiered based on risk)
  • Pictograms used to communicate hazards (aligned with TDG symbols)
  • Required elements of labels
  • The format of (M)SDSs (now 16 sections, was 9 sections)

What did not change?

  • Canadian provinces require that employers educate their workers about hazardous products in the workplace
  • Supplier labels and workplace labels must be attached to hazardous products and the (M)SDS are available on site

When is WHMIS 2015 effective?

Phase 1 (February 11, 2015 – May 31, 2018)

  • Manufacturers and importers are permitted to use WHMIS 1988 during a transition to WHMIS 2015
  • Distributors and employers can continue to use WHMIS 1988 or transition to WHMIS 2015 if they wish

Phase 2 (June 1, 2018 – August 31, 2018)

  • Manufacturers and importers must be using WHMIS 2015.
  • Distributors are permitted to use WHMIS 1988 but should begin transition to WHMIS 2015 if they haven’t already.
  • Employers can continue to use WHMIS 1988 or transition to WHMIS 2015 if they wish.

Phase 3 (September 1, 2018 – November 30, 2018)

  • WHMIS 2015 is now in effect across Canada.
  • Manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must all be using WHMIS 2015.

Completion (December 1, 2018)

  • WHMIS 2015 is now in effect across Canada.
  • Manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers must all be using WHMIS 2015.

What WHMIS 2015 means for…

Employers:

  • Employers must update their SDS inventories as the new SDS are received
  • Workers should be training on WHMIS 2015 as soon as SDS and/or labels are present in the workplace or by December 1, 2018
  • Workplace labels must be updated to be WHMIS 2015 compliant when WHMIS 2015 provincial legislation is updated.

Workers:

  • Workers must become familiar with WHMIS 2015 and participate in their employers WHMIS 2015 program, training and transition plan

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