GHS In Canada – Are We There Yet?

WHMIS 2.0 Comment Period

It should be no surprise by now that Canada is moving ahead with GHS, or WHMIS 2.0 implementation, and that a comment period was available. The target is still to synchronize the WHMIS GHS implementation with the US OSHA date of June 2015.

During the comment period Health Canada formally received 67 submitted “comments” from industry on the WHMIS 2.0 proposal in Gazette I – mostly for support of the GHS initiative. One comment focused on aerosols and the fact that the proposal indicates it is in alignment with the 5th revised edition of the GHS purple book. But, manufacturers would currently still have to assign a compressed gas classification under the proposal as it stands now. The 5th edition, though, drops the compressed gas designation for aerosols. Health Canada is investigating this issue.

ghs-transition-guides-button-2Comments are being reviewed and upon completion, subsequent steps include amendments to OSH legislation, developing guidance documents and training materials, and final publication in Gazette II.

Also, there are important variances to note in WHMIS 2.0 versus OSHA GHS. The phrase “Not applicable” MUST NOT be used in Section 11 of an SDS; and for STOT classifications, suppliers MUST NOT identify a specific organ and route of exposure unless they are 100% positive there are no other target organ effects. A general statement that does not specify an organ or a specific route of exposure MUST be used.

WHMIS 2.0 Transition Dates

There will be a 4-phase transition period once WHMIS 2.0 is in force.

Phase 1 (June 2015 – June 2016): The old system and WHMIS 2.0 would be allowed simultaneously.

Phase 2 (June 2016 – December 2016): Manufacturers and importers MUST comply with WHMIS 2.0; distributors will still be able to ship products with old labels and SDSs; employers will be able to receive, use and produce labels and SDSs based on the old HPA and CPR.

Phase 3 (December 2016 – June 2017): All suppliers will be required to be in compliance with the new WHMIS 2.0 requirements. Employers will still be able to use old WHMIS SDSs and labels in workplaces.

Phase 4 (June 2017 and beyond): WHMIS 2.0 will be fully implemented.

Note that Health Canada has emphasized that these dates are subject to change and dependant on when the proposed regulation will transition to Gazette II.

In short we are closer to WHMIS 2.0 than before, but not quite there yet!

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