Buildsafe Construction Safety Services Inc.

WHMIS More Than Just SDS and Labels

WHMIS has changed a bit, nothing big in my opinion, it is and will always be an information system on hazardous materials, including bio and physical agents. That was always the intent of WHMIS 1988 and with the advent of GHS 2015, WHMIS hasn't changed. Updated symbols, some new hazard classifications to try and streamline WHMIS, dropping M from MSDS, going to the 16 ANSI data sheet rather than our Canadian 9 part data sheet; but again all to the same end. How will the material hurt you and how to protect yourself.

So employers, you have to train your people on the new WHMIS, what exactly does that mean? Unfortunately in most cases we are missing the word 'review'. To review someones WHMIS in 2019 definitely includes an explanation of the new updated system, but it should not forget about reminding workers of the core information on a SDS in order for workers to properly interpret the hazard to protect themselves.

What I mean is a review on the basic scientific principals which as 'vapour density', 'specific gravity', 'upper and lower explosive levels', the term 'LD-50' is a critical reminder to workers, because if the LD-50 number is just right, we can have potentially poisonous deadly consequences for workers. Even though they were refreshed on WHMIS 2015, but will fail to see the reality of the hazards of being poisoned, burned, creating a lack of breathable oxygen or possibly accidentally mixing two synergistic products together and create a poison gas cloud or even a bomb. All accidentally because we only reviewed the WHMIS GHS changes not the core information that will save our lives.

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Kevin Carey
October 6, 2019
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