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WHMIS The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. AEE Training Program 2008. Course Outline. Discuss: WHMIS Regulations WHMIS Labeling System Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) Hazardous Chemical Inventory needs Employee Information and Training requirements

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Whmis the workplace hazardous materials information system l.jpg

WHMISThe Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

AEE Training Program


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Course Outline

  • Discuss:

    • WHMIS Regulations

    • WHMIS Labeling System

    • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

    • Hazardous Chemical Inventory needs

    • Employee Information and Training requirements

    • Obtaining Site-Specific WHMIS Information

  • WHMIS Controlled Product Symbols – Interactive Exercise (slide 33)

  • Quiz

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Chemical Hazards

  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals can be a problem. If you are not careful, chemicals may cause serious health problems such as

    • Organ damage

    • Cancer

    • Burns and rashes

    • Birth defects

  • The purpose of WHMIS system is to help preventing exposure to toxic chemicals via education, administrative & engineering controls, and PPE (to reduce health hazards and accidents)

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  • What is WHMIS and What Does it Do?

    • The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) was established to give employee information about the hazardous materials produced, handled, stored, used or disposed of in the work place

  • The aim of WHMIS is to reduce chemical-related accidents and health hazards

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Elements of WHMIS

  • There are three elements to WHMIS:

    • 1. Labels: All hazardous materials must display labels that clearly identify risks and recommend precautions that you should take for safe handling

    • 2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs): An MSDS must be provided for every hazardous material in your workplace.

    • 3. Worker Education: Employer must train you how to interpret and use the information that is provided for your benefit on labels and MSDSs.

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WHMIS Applicability

  • WHMIS applies to workplace health and safety only

  • It does NOT regulate:

    • Transportation of Dangerous Goods

    • Hazardous Products that used at Home

    • The Effects of Hazardous Materials on the Environment

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Who Supplies the Information?

  • Under WHMIS both Suppliers and Employers are responsible for providing hazard and safe handling information.

  • The Supplier must:

    • Label hazardous material

    • Provide MSDS

  • The Employer must:

    • Ensure that MSDSs are current and readily available

    • Ensure that hazardous materials are correctly labeled

    • Train and educate employees to handle hazardous materials safely

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WHMIS Training

  • Anyone planning to work with any controlled or restricted product must be trained in WHMIS before starting this work

  • Employees should be trained right after the employment as a part of new employee safety orientation and before they start working with controlled or restricted products

  • Refreshers should be conducted when new chemicals are introduced or at least every three years

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WHMIS Legislation

  • The Hazardous Product Act - HPA (federal)

    • Requires suppliers of hazardous materials to provide supplier labels and MSDSs

  • The Controlled Product Regulations - CPR

    • Issued pursuant to the Hazardous Products Act – contain details on labels, MSDSs, conditions, exemptions, definitions

  • The Ingredient Disclosure List - IDL

    • Contains the names of chemicals that must be identified on the MSDS if they are present in a controlled product in prescribed amounts

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WHMIS Legislation (cont.)

  • The Hazardous Materials Information Review Act and Appeal Board Regulations

    • Establish a commission to rule on claims and appeals related to exemptions

  • Provincial and Territorial WHMIS Workplace Regulations

  • The Canada Labor Code and the Canada Occupational Safety and Health Regulations

    • Establish requirements for WHMIS in federally regulated workplaces

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WHMIS Legislation (cont.)

  • Each of the thirteen provincial, territorial and federal agencies responsible for occupational safety and health have established employer WHMIS requirements within their respective jurisdiction. These requirements require employers to ensure that

    • Controlled products are properly labeled,

    • MSDSs are made available to workers, and

    • Workers receive education and training to ensure the safe storage, handling and use of controlled products in the workplace

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What is a Hazardous Product Under WHMIS?

  • Prohibited Products

  • Restricted Products

  • Controlled Products

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Prohibited Products

  • Include toys equipment and clothing that might be harmful to children. Other products would be hazardous to workers if they were used in the workplace (certain products that contain asbestos fibers).

  • Prohibited products may not be advertised, sold or imported into Canada.

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Restricted Products

  • Include hazardous materials packaged for consumer use (Consumer Chemicals). Restricted products may be imported, sold and advertised in Canada, but only in accordance with the regulations

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Controlled Products

  • These are the products and substances that are covered by WHMIS:

    • Class A - Compressed Gas

    • Class B - Flammable and Combustible Material

    • Class C - Oxidizing Material

    • Class D - Poisonous and Infectious Material

    • Class E - Corrosive material

    • Class F - Dangerously reactive material

  • If material is controlled it will be labeled

  • There are 8 WHMIS hazard symbols

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Class A – Compressed Gas

  • Any material that is normally a gas which is placed under pressure or chilled, and contained by a cylinder is considered to be a compressed gas. These materials are dangerous because they are under pressure. If the cylinder is broken, the container can 'rocket' or 'torpedo' at great speeds and this is a danger to anyone standing too close. If the cylinder is heated, the gas will expand and the cylinder will explode. Leaking cylinders are also a danger because the gas that comes out is very cold and it may cause frostbite if it touches skin.

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Class A – Compressed Gas

Symbol No. 1

Examples: compressed air, aerosols, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, propane, chlorine, hydrogen

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Class B – Flammable and Combustible Material

  • Flammable means that the material will burn or catch on fire easily at normal temperatures (below 37.8 degrees C or 100 deg F).

  • Combustible materials must usually be heated before they will catch on fire at temperatures above normal (between 37.8 and 93.3 deg C or 100 and 200 deg F).

  • Reactive flammable materials are those which may suddenly start burning when it touches air or water, or may react with air or water to make a flammable gas.

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Class B – Flammable and Combustible Material

Symbol No. 2

Common examples include: propane, butane, acetylene, ethanol, acetone, turpentine, toluene, kerosene, Stoddard solvent, spray paints and varnish.

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Class C – Oxidizing Material

  • Oxygen is necessary for a fire to occur. Some chemicals can cause other materials to burn by supplying oxygen. Oxidizers do not usually burn themselves but they will either help the fire by providing more oxygen or they may cause materials that normally do not burn to suddenly catch on fire (spontaneous combustion). In some cases, a spark or flame (source of ignition) is not necessary for the material to catch on fire but only the presence of an oxidizer. Oxidizers can also be in the form of gases (oxygen, ozone), liquids (nitric acid, perchloric acid solutions) and solids (potassium permanganate, sodium chlorite).

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Class C – Oxidizing Material

Symbol No. 3

Examples: oxygen gas, hydrogen peroxide, bleach

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Class D - Poisonous and Infectious Material

  • They are divided into three major divisions

    • Class D-1 –Materials causing immediate toxic effect

    • Class D-2 – Materials causing other toxic effects

    • Class D-3 – Biohazardous materials

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Class D-1: Materials Causing Immediate and Serious Toxic Effects

  • Class D-1: Materials Causing Immediate and Serious Toxic Effects

  • These are materials that are VERY poisonous and immediately dangerous to life and health. Serious health effects such as burns, loss of consciousness, coma or death within just minutes or hours after exposure are grouped in this category. Most D-1 materials will also cause longer term effects as well (those effects that are not noticed for months or years).

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Class D-1: Materials Causing Immediate and Serious Toxic Effects

Symbol No. 4

Examples: hydrogen sulphide, strychnine, cyanide, nerve gas

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Division 2: Materials Causing Other Toxic Effects Effects

  • These materials are poisonous as well. Their effects are not always quick, or if the effects are immediate but they are only temporary. The materials that do not have immediate effects, however, may still have very serious consequences such as cancer, allergies, reproductive problems, or irritation / sensitization which have resulted from small exposures over a long period of time (chronic effects).

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Class D-2: Materials Causing Other Toxic Effects Effects

Symbol No. 5

Examples: asbestos fibers, mercury, ammonia

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Division 3: Biohazardous Infectious Materials Effects

  • These materials are organisms or the toxins they produce that can cause diseases in people or animals. Included in this division are bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Because these organisms can live in body tissues or fluids (blood, urine), the tissues and fluids are also treated as toxic. Biohazardous infectious materials at AEE can be encountered in the field and in bioassay laboratories. Workers in these places do not usually know which tissues or fluids contain dangerous organisms. For this reason, the workers assume that every sample is dangerous and proper protection is used all the time. Examples of biohazardous infectious materials include the AIDS/HIV virus, Hepatitis B and salmonella.

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Class D-3: Biohazardous Infectious Materials Effects

Symbol No. 6

Examples: materials contaminated with bacteria or viruses (AIDS, Hepatitis, salmonella, West Nile virus, SARS)

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Class E - Corrosive Materials Effects

  • Corrosive is the name given to materials that can cause severe burns to skin and other human tissues such as the eye or lung, and can attack clothes and other materials including metal. Corrosives are grouped in this special class because their effects are permanent (irritants whose effects may be similar but temporary are grouped in Class D-2). Common corrosives include acids such as sulphuric and nitric acids, bases such as ammonium hydroxide and caustic soda and other materials such as ammonia gas, chlorine, and nitrogen dioxide.

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Class E – Corrosive Materials Effects

Symbol No. 7

Examples: acids, caustic soda

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Class F - Dangerously Reactive Materials Effects

  • A material is considered to be dangerously reactive if it shows three different properties or abilities: first, if it can react very strongly and quickly (called "vigorously") with water to make a toxic gas; second, if it will react with itself when it gets shocked (bumped or dropped) or if the temperature or pressure increases; and thirdly, if it can vigorously join to itself (polymerization), break down (decomposition) or lose extra water such that it is a more dense material (condensation). If a material is dangerously reactive, it will most likely be described as "unstable". Most of these materials can be extremely hazardous if they are not handled properly because they can react in such a quick manner very easily. Examples of these products are ethyl acrylate, vinyl chloride, ethylene oxide, picric acid and anhydrous aluminum chloride.

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Class F – Dangerously Reactive Materials Effects

Symbol No. 8

Examples: fiberglass repair kits, epoxy resins

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Routes of Entry Effects

  • Toxic and infectious materials can only harm you if they get into your body. The ways in which they can enter are called the routes of entry and include:

    • Skin or eye absorption

    • Inhalation

    • Ingestion, and

    • Injection

  • Remember: Exposure controls, such as ventilation or PPE, must be used to create a barrier between you and a toxic material. Be sure to follow recommendations on the MSDS; please ask your safety & health coordinator for the assistance

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Labels Effects

  • Under WHMIS all controlled products should be labeled. The purpose of label is to:

    • Identify product as controlled

    • Indicate the nature of the risk (e.g., flammable, corrosive, toxic)

    • Provide some safe handling instructions

  • Remember: the amount of information that the label can provide is limited by its size. The MSDS will always provide more comprehensive safe handling information than the label.

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Types of Labels Under WHMIS Effects

  • There are three types of WHMIS labels:

    • Supplier Labels

    • Workplace Labels

    • Other Means of Identification

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The Supplier Label Effects

You can recognize a supplier labels by its unique broken border.

It is also bilingual.

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The Supplier Label Effects

There are 7 items of information that the supplier must put on the label of a controlled product

  • The name of the product, which can be any one of the chemical name, common name, generic name or trade name.

  • The name of the supplier.

  • Hazard symbol(s). In general, the label should include a hazard symbol for each WHMIS class that the controlled product falls into.

  • Risk Phrases (i.e., “irritating to eyes”)

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The Supplier Label Effects

  • Precautionary measures, which are short statements describing the precautions to be taken when handling a controlled product. Examples of precautionary measures include:

    • wear face protection,

    • avoid prolonged contact with skin,

    • keep container dry.

      The exact wording of the precautionary measures is up to the supplier.

  • First aid measures, which are short statements describing the immediate steps to be taken, either by the victim or by co-workers, when an accident with a controlled product has occurred. The statements should be specific to the product. First aid measures do not include additional steps to be taken only by a medical professional.

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The Supplier Label Effects

  • A reference to a material safety data sheet, which is a statement alerting the user of the controlled product that more information is available. Examples include:

    See Material Safety Data Sheet, or

    Consult Material Safety Data Sheet.

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The Supplier Labels Effects

Small Quantities ( < 100 ml)

  • For small quantities of a controlled product, labeling requirements are less stringent. Only four of the items are required:

    • Product Identifier

    • Hazard Symbols

    • Supplier Identifier

    • Reference to the MSDS

  • The hatched border is not necessary.

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The Workplace Label Effects

  • Remember, under WHMIS, you should never have a controlled product that is not labeled.

  • As long as the controlled product remains in its original container, with a supplier label on it, no additional labeling is required.

  • Sometimes, however, you will want to put the controlled product into another container for use in the workplace. Now you must use a workplace label.

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The Workplace Label Effects

  • A workplace label is a label that the employer produces, for use in the employer's workplace only, and that contains the following information:

    • the identity of the product;

    • information for the safe handling of the product; and

    • a statement that a material safety data sheet is available.

  • These requirements for the workplace label are very general, unlike the federal requirements for the supplier label, which are very specific. The workplace label does not require a border, hazard symbols or specific wording.

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The Workplace Label Effects

Product Identifier

Safe Handling Instructions

  • Instruction

  • Instruction

  • Instruction

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The Workplace Label Example Effects





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The Workplace Label Effects

  • Examples of when you MUST use a workplace label

    • If you transfer a controlled product from its original container into another container. This is called “decanting”

    • If you transfer a controlled product that is stored in bulk into another container

    • If the supplier label is illegible, damaged or lost, you must replace it with a workplace label or supplier label

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The Workplace Label - Exemptions Effects

  • There are two cases when a workplace label may NOT be required when you decant a controlled product:

    • If the controlled product is for immediate use, and

    • If the controlled product is under the control of the person who decanted it and is to be used all on that shift

  • Please note: some local jurisdictions might still require a label in the above example. Please either check you local regs or provide a simple label with the chemical name only!

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Other Means of Identification Effects

  • Pipelines and Reaction Vessels (contact your manager or SHE Director if this is applicable to you)

  • Laboratory Samples

    • Samples of controlled products that are undergoing testing in a laboratory must be clearly identified by a name or number

    • If the sample to be analyzed is to be sent off-site, then you must apply a “Hazardous Lab Sample Label”

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Material Safety Data Sheets Effects

  • A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product. It is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program. It also contains information on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures all related to the hazards of the material. The MSDS contains much more information about the material than the label. MSDSs are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material. It is intended to tell what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if such incidents occur.

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Material Safety Data Sheets Effects

  • In Canada, every material that is controlled by WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) must have an accompanying MSDS that is specific to each individual product or material (both the product name and supplier on the MSDS must match the material in use).

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What information is on the MSDS? Effects

  • There are nine (9) categories of information that must be present on an MSDS in Canada. These categories are specified in the Controlled Products Regulations and include:

    • Product Information: product identifier (name), manufacturer and suppliers names, addresses, and emergency phone numbers

    • Hazardous Ingredients

    • Physical Data

    • Fire or Explosion Hazard Data

    • Reactivity Data: information on the chemical instability of a product and the substances it may react with

    • Toxicological Properties: health effects

    • Preventive Measures

    • First Aid Measures

    • Preparation Information: who is responsible for preparation and date of preparation of MSDS

  • The Controlled Products Regulations prescribes what information must be present in more detail.

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Are MSDSs using the 16-heading format acceptable in Canada? Effects

  • Yes, as long as two conditions are met.

  • First, all the required information specified under Column III of Schedule I of the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) must be addressed. All headings and subheadings that are on the MSDS must be addressed by providing the required information or by stating that the information is not available or not applicable, whichever is appropriate.

  • Second, the statement "This product has been classified in accordance with the hazard criteria of the CPR and the MSDS contains all of the information required by the CPR" must appear under the section heading "Regulatory Information".

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Is all the information I need on the MSDS? Effects

  • Not necessarily. A lot of health hazard information, for example, is written in general terms. Your health and safety manager, registered occupational hygienist or certified industrial hygienist should be able to help you find more information if needed.

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When would I use an MSDS? Effects

  • Always be familiar with the hazards of a product BEFORE you start using it. You should look at a MSDS, match the name of the chemical on your container to the one on the MSDS, know the hazards, understand safe handling and storage instructions, as well as understand what to do in an emergency.

  • NEVER start using a new product before receiving chemical-specific training on this product.

  • Please make sure that this online training is supplemented by chemical-specific training for all chemicals that you use!

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MSDS Information Effects

  • Traditionally the intended readers of MSDSs were occupational hygienists and safety professionals. Now the audience also includes employers, workers, supervisors, nurses, doctors, emergency responders. To ensure that MSDS users can quickly find the information that they need, the information should be in an easy-to-read format and written in a clear, precise and understandable manner.

  • For most people who work with controlled products, there are some sections that are more important than others.

  • You should always read the name of the chemical, know the hazards, understand safe handling and storage instructions, as well as understand what to do in an emergency.

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Can an MSDS be too old? Effects

  • Yes. Under WHMIS law, an MSDS for a controlled product must not be more than three years old. If you are still using a product that you bought more than three years ago, you may not have a current MSDS. Contact the manufacturer or supplier again and ask for a newer version of the MSDS.

  • The three-year time limit does not apply to MSDSs for non-controlled products (i.e. products that do not meet WHMIS criteria).

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As an employer, do I have responsibilities for MSDSs? Effects

  • Yes. Employers must make sure that all controlled products have an up-to-date (less than three years old) MSDS when it enters the workplace. The MSDSs must be readily available to the workers who are exposed to the controlled product and to the health and safety committee or representative. If a controlled product is made in the workplace, the employer has a duty to prepare an MSDS for any of these products.

  • Employers may computerize the MSDS information as long as all employees have access to and are trained on how to use the computer, the computers are kept in working order, and that the employer makes a hard copy of the MSDS available to the employee or safety and health committee/representative upon request.

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Questions You May have About the MSDS’s Effects

  • Who is responsible for preparing the MSDS?

    • The Supplier.

  • Where Do I Find the MSDS?

    • Each Office or Lab dealing with controlled products should have a file of MSDS;s for all the controlled products that are handled in the workplace. YOU SHOULD NOT HANDLE A CONTROLLED PRODUCT IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN MSDS.

  • What should I do if the MSDS is more than 3 years old?

    • Bring it to the attention of your SHE coordinator or supervisor.

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Questions You May have About the MSDS’s Effects

  • How do I find the MSDS if the container has no label?

    • Remember! You should not use a product that is not labeled. Talk to your supervisor and SHE Coordinator.

  • What if I don’t understand the information on the MSDS?

    • Ask you supervisor, SHE Coordinator, industrial hygienist or SHE Director. The information that you don’t understand could mean the difference between a healthy life and a chronic health condition!

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Laboratories Effects

  • WHMIS has special applications related to laboratories

  • If you work in a chemical laboratory, please review the following chapter:

    • http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/whmis_laboratories.html

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Construction Projects Effects

Responsibilities of Constructor (Prime Contractor)

  • To ensure that all controlled products on the project are labeled.

  • To maintain and make available to workers, copies of all MSDSs received from contractors and subcontractors at the project.

  • To train own workers about WHMIS and about the controlled products that the prime contractor brings on site.

  • To resolve any WHMIS-related conflicts among contractors and sub-contractors on site.

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Construction Projects Effects

Responsibilities of Subcontractors

  • To ensure that any controlled product brought on site is labeled.

  • To maintain and make available to workers, MSDSs for controlled products brought on site.

  • To give the prim contractor copies of all MSDSs for controlled products brought on site.

  • To train own workers about WHMIS, and about the controlled products that they use on site.

  • To inform other contractors, sub-contractors and workers who may be affected by the controlled products that they brought on site.

  • To inform the prime contractor of WHMIS-related conflicts among contractors or sub-contractors on the project.

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Construction Projects Carried Out in Operating Workplace Effects

  • The client should give the constructor copies of MSDSs for any controlled products in the client's workplace that the constructor's workers may be exposed to.

  • The constructor should ensure that all controlled products brought into the client's workplace by the constructor are labeled.

  • The constructor should give the client copies of MSDSs for all controlled products that the constructor brings into the client's workplace.

  • The constructor must train his/her own workers respecting the controlled products used on the construction project, and the controlled products likely to be encountered in the client's workplace.

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Chemical-Specific Training Effects

  • Please make sure that this online training is supplemented by chemical-specific training for all chemicals that you use!

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WHMIS Quiz Effects

Please proceed to your WHMIS Quiz at AEE Online Training Site

The password for the WHMIS quiz is