What You Need to Know About Canada’s WHMIS
Why is the new WHMIS 2015 delayed for an entire year?
In February 2015, the Government of Canada modified the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 1988) to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace chemicals. The new international standard for classifying hazardous chemicals is called WHMIS 2015.
The first phase of the implementation process was supposed to move forward this month, but has been delayed for one full year to support legislative, regulatory, and system change.
The delay will be used to develop an amendment to the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) in order to protect the confidentiality of hazardous ingredient concentrations in chemical products without having to go through the HMIRA claim for exemption process.
The transition period will support training for employees, changing out of material safety data sheets, and consistency across Canada federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.
WHMIS 2015 is similar to the approach adopted by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to implement the Hazard Communication Standard (2010), which implemented the GHS. Although they’re alike, a label or SDS that is compliant with the United States Hazard Communication Standard (2012) may not be sufficient for compliance in Canada. The supplier must be compliant with the Canadian requirements, whether the CPR or the HPR.
Total implementation of WHMIS 2015 will take place over a three-phase transition period from May 31, 2018 to completion on December 1, 2018. During the initial phase, suppliers must comply with the requirements of either WHMIS 1988 (repealed CPR/old HPA) or WHMIS 2015 (HPR/new HPA).
Supplier labels must be written in English and French. The labels can be bilingual or two separate labels, one in English and one in French. For more information on the transitional period, please consult appropriate FPT OHS regulator to confirm requirements.
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