Ensuring Your Workplace Is WHMIS 2015 Compliant

Across Canada, all employers must move on from WHMIS 1988 and transition to WHMIS 2015 by December 1, 2018. The manufacturer deadline was June 1, 2017, and for distributors June 1, 2018. The changes will affect more than just those buying and selling product, but the workers who use and come into contact with them as well. The changes include:

  • Improving the clarity and visibility of safety information on labels and safety data sheets
  • Adopting internationally recognized methods for hazardous workplace chemical classifications
  • Ensuring consistency of data sheets across all suppliers
  • Adding easy to understand pictograms for hazard classes on labels
  • Updating formats and layouts of safety data sheets
  • Separating products into either physical hazards or health hazards



Some of the key WHMIS 2015 changes

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) have been retired for the more robust Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), symbols have been reworked, and the supplier and workplace labels have been updated. The six hazard classes have been upped to 32 hazard classes, and black circles for pictograms have been changed into the more attention grabbing red squares (with the exception of biohazardous materials). New symbols include:

  • Exploding Bomb — Explosive, Self-Reactive (severe), Organic Peroxide (severe)
  • Health Hazard — Carcinogenicity, Respiratory Sensitization, Reproductive Toxicity, Target Organ Toxicity, Germ Cell Mutagenicity, Aspiration Hazard
  • Exclamation Mark — Irritation (skin or eyes), Skin Sensitization, Acute Toxicity (harmful), Specific Target Organ Toxicity (drowsiness or dizziness, or respiratory irritation), Hazardous to the Ozone Layer




Employer responsibilities for WHMIS

It is the responsibility of the employer to educate and train workers on the risks and safe use of hazardous products they come into contact with. They are also responsible for safety due diligence in regards to:

  • Ensuring hazardous products are properly labelled, including relabelling any old products still in use that hold the WHMIS 1988-compliant labels.
  • Preparing workplace labels as needed
  • Preparing Safety Data Sheets if a hazardous material is manufactured on-site
  • Ensuring access to updated Safety Data Sheets to workers
  • Confirming that appropriate control measures are in place to protect the health and safety of workers
  • Developing Procedures for safe use, protection and emergency actions

Workers are responsible for ensuring their own participation and education trough training programs, taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves and co-workers, and having to knowledge to identify and control hazards. Safety is always a team effort and active participation from all workers, supervisors, managers, and owners is the best way to reduce risk and protect everyone’s safety.

When an inspector makes a workplace visit, they will be checking to ensure all aspects of WHMIS 2015 are being followed. They will not only check for labels and identifications of hazardous materials, but also speak to employees to verify proper training has taken place.



A safe work place is crucial and ensuring that you have the right safety procedures and policies for things such as working at heights, first aid CPR, confined space entry, as well as things like WHMIS-GHS can create a great work environment that is safe and productive. Since Advanced Consulting and Training Ltd.’s founding, their diverse team of certified health and safety professionals have taken great pride in their ability to deliver prompt, cost-effective and relevant workplace health and safety solutions. As a CPO approved, TSSA accredited, and WSIB approved provider, we look forward to discussing how ACT can help with your company’s safety requirements. Contact us today for more information relating to courses such as:


Joint Health & Safety Committee

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

…and more!





Please add Content in FAQ