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Federal requirements deal with these issues.
The Hazardous Products Act (HPA) requires a supplier to provide WHMIS labels and material safety data sheets (MSDSs) at the time of (or prior to) sale or importation of a controlled product into Canada. Controlled Products Regulations provide details of the WHMIS classification system for controlled products, format and information requirements for MSDSs and labels, and conditions of exemptions.
Two sets of WHMIS legislation apply in workplaces in B.C.
Federal legislation on format and information pertaining to supplier WHMIS labels and MSDS applies to all provinces the same way across Canada.
Provincial OHS legislation relating to provision of MSDS, workplace labels, worker education and training are based on a single set of regulatory guidelines issued by the federal government. These guidelines were adopted in almost the same form by all provinces and territories and therefore similar workplace requirements can be expected across Canada.
Products that are prohibited, restricted or controlled.
Prohibited products are listed in Part I of Schedule I of the HPA, and examples include drywall cements or patching compounds containing asbestos; paint and varnish removers having a flashpoint less than 0 degrees F; and aerosol containers containing any amount of vinyl chloride. It is illegal to manufacture or sell such products in Canada. Import of such products into Canada is also illegal.
Restricted products are listed in Part II of Schedule 1 of the HPA, and examples include hazardous substances packaged for consumer use such as bleaches, cleansers, corrosives, petroleum distillates and adhesives. These are more commonly called "Consumer Products" and this part of the HPA applies only to products on the list AND only when sold in the size of container available to the retail public. For example, a 4-litre container of bleach is covered as a consumer (restricted) product but a 45-gallon drum is not.
A controlled product is any hazardous substance that meets the criteria specified in Part IV of the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) to be included in any of the hazard classes listed in Schedule II of the HPA.
A Controlled Product falls within any one (or more) of the six WHMIS hazard classes. The hazard classes are compressed gas, flammable and combustible material, oxidizing material, poisonous and infectious material, corrosive material, and dangerously reactive material.
No. Provincial OHS Regulation Section 5.4 prohibits the use of such products in the workplace. Such products are to be stored until proper label and MSDS are available.
Some controlled products, such as consumer (restricted) products and registered pesticides, are exempt from MSDS requirements. In this case, the employer must be able to provide sufficient information for the safe use of the product (see next question).
Pest control products (PCP) are partially exempt and there is no requirement for MSDS and supplier label. However, the container must bear a legal PCP label. Provincial OHS requirements for workplace labeling and worker education and training apply. A pesticide information sheet may be available that supplies information on hazards associated with the product.
The same answer applies to workplace use of radioactive material, consumer (restricted) products, registered drug products, food, cosmetic products and medical devices.
Consumer labels apply to restricted products, which are grouped into 4 classes; poisonous, corrosive, flammable and explosive.
WHMIS labels apply to controlled products, which are grouped into 6 hazard classes.
The most obvious difference is that WHMIS labels have the pictorial symbol(s) contained in a circular border, whereas the labels for consumer (restricted) products (and also pesticides) have the symbols contained inside an inverted triangle, diamond or octagon - depending on the degree of hazard. In addition, a WHMIS label must have a hatch-mark border around all of the required information.
No. Product Safety branch of Health Canada (Federal Government) regulates consumer products. However, provincial Occupational Health and Safety Regulation does address the safe use of these products. For information about products that are partially or completely exempt from WHMIS, refer to the WHMIS Core Material, pp 75 - 88.
WHMIS: addresses controlled products for industrial use
TDG: addresses transportation of dangerous goods
TDG Regulation deals with controlling the immediate hazards of exposure to hazardous materials in the event of a spill or leak during transportation. WHMIS deals with the effects to workers of hazardous materials - effects that may be immediate, or may take many years to develop.
Consumer products are partially exempt. Such products are exempt from the federal (HPA and CPR) requirements for MSDS or supplier label. However, provincial OHS requirements for identification, workplace labelling and worker education and training are enforced.
It means the 'Ingredient Disclosure List.' This list is set out in section 17(1) to (4) of HPA as one criterion for ingredient disclosure on MSDS. This list has not been updated since 1988. Any chemical listed on the IDL must be disclosed in the hazardous ingredients section of an MSDS, after disclosing all ingredients which meet the classification criteria in CPR and any ingredients for which the supplier is aware of hazard information.
It was never intended for, and should never be used as a basis for classification of controlled products. Instead, refer to the methods outlined in the Suppliers' Guide to WHMIS.
It means 'Confidential Business Information' and applies to specific information that a supplier wishes to maintain as a trade secret. The information must be provided for detailed review to the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission (in Ottawa). The commission may grant exemption for disclosure and will require their registration number (and date) to be printed in the hazardous ingredients section of the MSDS.
Trade secret exemption can only be granted for ingredient disclosure and identification -- never for hazard disclosure, personal protective equipment or first aid information.
A 'manufactured article' is formed to a specific shape or design; its use depends on this design, and under normal conditions of use will not cause a person to be exposed to a controlled product. Examples of manufactured articles are a car battery or a mercury thermometer.
There is no requirement to register controlled products covered by WHMIS. WorkSafeBC enforces both federal and provincial WHMIS legislation for WHMIS but there is no form of approval for controlled products.
Product testing is not required. Suppliers of controlled products must use test data or other information of which the supplier is aware or ought reasonably to be aware to prepare the supplier label and the MSDS.
When importing only for own use, an employer is considered to be a supplier. The employer must ensure that an MSDS meeting Canadian requirements and supplier label are acquired at the time of (or prior to) sale or importation of a controlled product. (See WHMIS Responsibilities section.) The 16-section MSDSs from both the United States and the European Community are often acceptable in Canada but in almost all other cases, the foreign MSDS will not cover all the disclosure items required by HPA.
If importing for sale into workplaces in Canada, the (Canadian) importer is responsible for preparing WHMIS-compliant MSDSs and affixing WHMIS supplier labels to all containers of the product. For detailed information, see the Suppliers' Guide to WHMIS.
A total of 54 information items are required on an MSDS. (See 9-Section MSDS checklist)
A complex mixture is defined as being naturally occurring, such as derivatives from crude oil (e.g. gasoline, mineral spirits, kerosene), and is listed by the commonly known generic name (for example, Turpentine).
Yes. A generic MSDS is a single MSDS that applies to a number of similar products (for example, paint with different pigments).
No. Either manufacturer or supplier name, or both can be disclosed.
No. If an employer (or secondary distributor) revises the MSDS, then that employer (or secondary distributor) becomes responsible for the information and, therefore, becomes the supplier of the product.
The supplier emergency telephone required on the MSDS must reflect the emergency number available for the specific supplier - if they have a 24-hour line, it must be provided on the MSDS. If the supplier has only an 8-hour line, then that must be provided. If there is no supplier emergency number, then the regular phone number must be provided and (possibly) the poison control centre phone number.
No. You must write "not available" or "not applicable", as appropriate. This makes it clear to the reader that the supplier has tried to address the information requirement -- not ignored it.
Legally, yes. Usually, French version of the MSDS is produced upon request.
These terms refer to the Lethal Dose and the Lethal Concentration, respectively, at which 50% of test animals die due to exposure.
The Product Identification Number (PIN) called for on an MSDS is any identification number that the manufacturer/supplier has for identifying this specific product or product line. It is very often confused with the PIN (also commonly known as the UN#) for TDG purposes. It is advisable to identify the UN# in the other hazard information seen in section 8 (Leak and Spill information) and reserve the identification number box for the supplier's own information.
MSDSs expire every 3 years. The MSDS must be updated by providing any new information that has now become available. If there is none, the date of the review must be identified on the MSDS and the MSDS is now valid for a further three years.
This term means that the MSDS for a controlled product is accessible to all workers, who have the right to read that MSDS before using the controlled product.
Yes, but only if there is a written agreement between supplier and purchaser that the MSDS can be accessed through the web.
It is not required under Federal legislation. However, under Provincial (in B.C., OHS Regulation Part 5) requirements an MSDS or equivalent, such as a Waste Profile Sheet, is necessary.
Seven items are required. They are; product identifier, hazard symbols, risk phrases, precautionary measures, first aid measures, supplier identifier and a reference to MSDS. These must all be enclosed within a hatched border.
Federal legislation requires that the supplier importing the controlled product into Canada is responsible for obtaining or preparing a compliant WHMIS label and applying it to the container.
Provincial requirement prohibits the use of the controlled product without a proper label in the workplace.
No, only the 7 items listed in the question NO. 1.
Yes. Spanish may be used within the WHMIS supplier label border along with English and French.
Yes -- as long as the colours do not conflict with TDG designated colours. For details, see WHMIS Core Material (pp 117 - 118).
Workplace labels should be written in the language that is most common in the specific workplace.
A workplace label is required on a decanted product container or when the original label on the container is illegible.
Workplace labels require 3 items of information. They are; the product name identical to that found on the MSDS of the controlled product, information on safe handling and a statement indicating that a MSDS for the product is available.
Same information as required on workplace label. (Product name, information on safe handling, statement indicating MSDS is available).
The labelling requirements vary. See WHMIS Label section for more information.
Employers may use any system they wish for identifying the controlled product carried in pipes/piping systems. It can be product name, labels, placards or a form of colour coding. Colour coding is the most common. Workers must be educated in the identification scheme being used.
If the container is less than 100 ml in capacity, the label need contain only four of the seven items normally required. These are the product identifier, hazard symbols, supplier identifier and the reference to the MSDS. The employer must educate and train the workers on the information not included on the label.
It is the employer's responsibility to ensure workers are adequately educated and trained. If the employer cannot provide the required education and training, consultant(s) can be employed by the employer to provide it. Education covers the information about the product, while training must include how to safely use the product - i.e., include actual work procedures.
Yes. Worker education and training is a performance-based regulation. Adequacy of education and training is determined by the workers' ability to correctly answer the following four questions for all controlled products they use (or work in close proximity to):
There is a requirement (OHS Regulation Part 5) that the WHMIS program be reviewed annually. Annual refresher training is only required if the review shows that workers are not well aware of the information needed to answer the four questions in the question above.
No. WorkSafeBC does not issue WHMIS certificates, and certificates are not required.
Some employers with a very mobile workforce (e.g. construction) sponsor a course and issue WHMIS cards, in order to identify to a succession of similar employers that the individual worker has been through an effective education course. This saves each new employer having to send the same employee to a similar course (possibly every couple of weeks) at a great waste of time and money.
Where do I get a copy of WHMIS publications/videos?
Copies of WHMIS publications may be purchased from the WorkSafeBC Store.
The following are available in PDF format:
The following videos may be downloaded for free:
WHMIS program implementation incorporates assignment of responsibility, inventory of controlled products, compliance with labels and MSDSs, workplace hazard controls, emergency procedures, worker education and training, and a system for evaluating the effectiveness of the WHMIS program. (See the Implementation checklist (PDF 57 KB))
The WHMIS program must be reviewed once a year.