Employees spend an average of 40 hours a week in the workplace. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their work areas are safe from dangerous situations. Still, Canadian worker’s compensation boards reported an average of “924 workers died due to work-related causes in 2020. This report provides a jurisdictional comparison of work-related injury and fatality rates in Canada between 2016 and 2020 using data from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC)”.
It’s no surprise that most workplace-related injuries happen in the equipment operation industry and the medical field. Chemicals and other hazardous products are prone to mishandling. That’s why employees need to receive WHMIS training before they are allowed to work with such products.
What is WHMIS?
WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. Canada uses this national standard to classify, label, and communicate information about hazardous products in the workplace, WHMIS 2015. The critical elements of WHMIS and WHMIS training are the labelling of containers, providing (SDSs) safety data sheets and worker education & training programs.
WHMIS was designed to ensure the safety of employees and employers when at the workplace. In particular, the system was designed to inform workers and employers of the dangers and hazards associated with the chemicals and substances they could encounter while on the job. Legislations that apply to WHMIS are the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Hazardous Products Act, and Controlled Products Regulations.
Why is WHMIS Important?
Employers are obligated to make sure that their employees receive WHMIS training because of the following reasons:
1.Education and Protection of Employees
Hazards tend to evolve just like any other factor in a work environment. WHIMS training can ensure that workers are properly informed regarding the hazardous products in their workplaces and the damaging effects of chemicals on their health. They understand how to read the labels and the essence of the information and symbols on the products, including those on the SDS. This training will also teach them the correct ways to protect themselves in their workplaces.
Workers who receive WHMIS training will learn about the different hazard symbols and their meanings. They will also learn about the other hazardous products and how to work with them safely. Finally, workers will understand the importance of reading labels and safety data sheets.
Health Canada is the government body responsible for the general WHMIS supplier-related laws, and they take the safety of workers very seriously. Many types of legal penalties apply to businesses that need to take safety regulations seriously. As a result, there is a high possibility of inspectors visiting workplaces, especially when they have grounds to believe that you are in non-compliance with the law. You need to ensure that a comprehensive WHMIS program is in place. When selling, distributing, or importing hazardous products into Canada, employers and suppliers must follow and use the WHMIS 2015 requirements for labels and safety data sheets (SDSs).
3.Prevention & Prompt response to emergencies
Prompt responses to emergencies make the difference between avoiding severe consequences and having a fatal accident saving you huge business operating expenses. With annual WHMIS training, employees will know precisely what to do to avoid risks and prepare for potentially dangerous situations.
Receiving WHMIS training is very important for Canadian workers, particularly those whose livelihood involves using or exposure to hazardous chemicals. Workplace safety is the responsibility of every Canadian employer. Every worker in Canada has the right to work in a safe environment, including the right to refuse unsafe work.
At Global Hazmat, we offer company-specific on-site training and online WHMIS training programs available to anyone who works closely with hazardous products, as set out under Federal and Provincial Regulations.
To decide which method of participation suits you best, select the option that will provide you with the most benefit and outcome. Choose the WHMIS option that is best for you. And if you still have questions, call or email us. We are happy to chat and guide you toward your best choice.