What Is WHMIS?

what is whmis?

What is WHMIS? What is GHS? What is WHMIS 2015? Do I need WHMIS training? These questions have become common ever since Canada incorporated the international standard GHS into its federal workplace safety system, known as WHMIS. Learn more about WHMIS and its updated version, WHMIS 2015, to make sure your workplace is compliant.

WHMIS is an acronym for the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. It is Canada’s national system for communicating health and safety information about hazardous materials used in workplaces. The WHMIS system was set into motion on October 31st, 1988. It is currently being modified into a newer, updated version known as WHMIS 2015, which incorporates the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS.

WHMIS became a legally binding system in 1988 by combining and synchronizing federal, provincial, territorial, and industry-specific regulations. This synchronization encourages cooperation between governments, companies, and interest groups, and eliminates inefficiency and redundancy in testing, communication, and safety measures. This in turn facilitates inter-provincial trade, contributing to the national chemical trade and economy.

WHMIS Key Elements

The key components of WHMIS involve hazardous materials identification, product classification, and communication of hazards. All WHMIS controlled hazardous products require labels and corresponding material safety data sheets, or MSDSs.

Workers must be educated about the implications of WHMIS as a whole, as well as trained for any site- and sector-specific information. The system, which is a shared responsibility between stakeholders, organized labor, industry, and government, is intended to keep everyone safe and continues to evolve by consensus.

Roles and Responsibilities

Answering the question, "What is WHMIS?" is the first step, but understanding why it exists is the key to a safe workplace. WHMIS primarily functions to keep workers safe by providing comprehensive access to information about hazardous materials used in the workplace. In order to do this, employers, suppliers, and workers all have their own roles and responsibilities within the system.

Suppliers who manufacture, distribute, import, and sell WHMIS controlled substances need to:
  • Identify dangerous products
  • Obtain health and safety information about hazardous goods
  • Provide hazard information to employers using labels and SDSs.

Employers who use or manufacture controlled products must:
  • Acquire or create proper labels and updated material safety data sheets for their products
  • Develop comprehensive and up-to-date employee training programs
  • Ensure that employees are adequately trained

Workers have to:
  • Participate in employer-provided safety training programs
  • Take active steps to protect themselves and their coworkers

All controlled product information and training certifications need to be updated every three years at minimum to ensure that they are up to date.

What is WHMIS 2015?

WHMIS was updated in 2015 to incorporate GHS, and this alignment will be adopted in stages over the course of 2018. The old WHMIS program is now known as WHMIS 1988, and the new system is known as WHMIS 2015.

Becoming GHS compliant will protect workers and benefit suppliers and employers in a variety of ways, including by updating hazard classification criteria, standardizing SDS formatting, and ensuring that physical hazard criteria are consistent with the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) regulations.

The WHMIS 2015 legislation is currently in force, which means that suppliers have begun to use GHS compliant labels and SDSs for hazardous products distributed, manufactured, or imported into Canada. Employees will need to be trained in WHMIS 2015. This new training will need to include updated workers’ rights and responsibilities, as well as an understanding of GHS compliant symbols, pictograms, labels, and SDSs.
WHMIS 2015 (GHS) Certification


Regular Price: $ 29.95

We provide both Team or Individual certification training for WHIMS 2015 available online 365 days a year.

Course Credit Pricing

5 - 9 Credits: $15.95
10 - 24 Credit: $12.95
25 - 49 Credits: $9.95
50 - 99 Credits: $7.95
100+ Credits: $5.95

Course Credits Do Not Expire

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