For years, Canada has maintained the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). It is meant to provide companies and workers information about hazardous products that are utilized across the workplace.
As per the WHMIS legislation, all products that are used in the workplace and that are classified as hazardous must be labeled.
Labels are extremely important to alert the users about the potential hazards associated with that particular product. The WHMIS labels also outline the precautions that must be taken and the safety measures that must be followed before using those products.
Here are five WHMIS label tips for your business:
1. You & the Supplier Are Responsible for the Labels
The suppliers are responsible for these labels before the products are provided to the customers. However, it is also the employers’ responsibility to ensure that any hazardous products within their workplace are properly labeled. If not, they are expected to apply these labels whenever required.
2. There Are Two Primary Types
Remember to make sure you have two main types of WHMIS labels on any hazardous products. These include:
A supplier label which is already provided by the supplier. If the product in question is always stored in the container, then the container will have the label and there will be no other label required front he supplier’s end.
A workplace label should be put on any hazardous product that is produced within the workplace and is used in that area as well. A workplace label is also required for any hazardous that is transferred or poured from one container to another. In case the supplier’s label becomes lost or unreadable, then it is imperative that a workplace label is put on the hazardous product to ensure there is no mishandling.
3. When Do You Use the WHMIS Label?
If the hazardous product is poured into a container and is expected to be used immediately, there is no need to put on workplace label. Similarly, if the person who is pouring out the hazardous product from one container to another is the only person who is expected to use this product and that product is expected to last during that one shift alone, then there is no need for a workplace label as long as the container has the product identifier and the supplier label. If the product is not used right away or if there is more than one person handling the product, then a workplace label will be required.
4. Every Label Must Have Correct Information
Each supplier label should contain the following information:
Initial supplier identifier
Supplemental label information
A signal word is extremely critical on these labels. This world alerts people about the degree or the level of hazard associated with the product in question. In most cases, two signal words are used: Danger and Warning. Danger is used when the risk of hazards is very high while Warning is used when the risk hazards are relatively low. This signal word must be shown on each label.
Every hazard category or class has to be assigned a hazard statement as well. These statements can be brief but should describe the most significant hazards associated with the product. For example “extremely flammable gas; fatal if inhaled; may cause cancer; etc.
5. Another Important Tidbit About WHMIS Labels
Only if the hazardous product is being sold by a distributor can the initial supplier name be replaced with that distributor’s contact information. If the product is imported for use in the workplace, the importer can retain the name and contact information of the foreign supplier instead of replacing it with their own contact information.