TIME TO CONSUME OR RE-LABEL EXISTING WHMIS 1988 CONTROLLED PRODUCT INVENTORY
The final stage in the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015 is drawing to a close. Consequently, employers in Canada have an obligation to ensure that any “leftover” stock at the workplace is identified under the WHMIS 2015 GHS-based classification and hazard communication protocols.
Note that, while the majority of Canadian jurisdictions require all provisions of WHMIS 2015 to be in place as of December 1, 2018, there are currently two exceptions.
Employers under the Federal jurisdiction have the ability, under the Canada Labour Code, to continue to use stock in the workplace with WHMIS 1988 labels/MSDS until May 31, 2019 (Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulation – SOR/2016-141, s. 77(b)).
Also, as of November 9, 2018, Nova Scotia has yet to publish an update to the 1989 WHMIS regulation.
In an amendment published on e-laws November 2 (to appear in the November 17, 2018 Edition of The Ontario Gazette )- effective December 1 employers must re-label any existing inventory of hazardous product received under WHMIS 1988 regulations.
This amendment affects O.Reg.860 sections 8, 10, and 18. Also a new s. 13 has been added; and the obsolete (transition) s. 25.1 is revoked at Dec.1. Terminology for labels has been modified in recognition that SDS or labels normally provided Continue Reading…
The regulation supplements The Saskatchewan Employment Act WHMIS requirements (Part III, DIVISON 7 of Statute S-15.1). As long as employers comply with the WHMIS 1988 requirements during the transition period, full compliance with WHMIS 2015 labelling/SDS at a worksite does not become mandatory until December 1, 2018.
The requirements mirror those in the model regulation which have been included to varying degrees in the FPT (federal/provincial/territorial) workplace regulations issued to date.
As with most OHS (occupational health & safety) regulations, training must be provided for hazards in the workplace- so employers receiving WHMIS 2015 labeled products/SDS will be expected to have trained workers in using the new system before they are able to be introduced to a worksite or place of employment (the defined terms for what other FPT refer to as a “workplace”).
A question that’s been top-of-mind with many in the regulated community is along the lines of “What does Canada’s GHS-modified hazardous products act/regulations (HPR-WHMIS 2015) say about workplace training and labelling of hazardous products?”
The short answer to this question is that the new Federal HPR says essentially the same thing as the previous CPR (Controlled Products Regulations-WHMIS 1988):
” ” – i.e. “Nothing”.
Constitutionally, most workplaces fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces/territories so they have the responsibility to establish/enforce OH&S regulations regarding what employers must do to apply the Supplier-provided (Federal jurisdiction) information. The exceptions to this are the limited number of constitutionally-designated Federal workplaces- and even in these workplace issues are addressed through separate OH&S regulations under the Canada Labour Code (CLC).
The question is perhaps being highlighted in Ontario where the Ministry of Labour indicated earlier this month that they, under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, would be undertaking an “inspection initiative” (aka “blitz”) regarding WHMIS compliance. This initiative, under the “Occupational Hygiene” program focus, is scheduled to run from now through March, 2016.
Inspectors will be looking for compliance with requirements for “labels, msds, worker education, and COMMUNICATION OF COMPONENTS OF THE GHS” (emphasis added).
The Gang that Sang in this case is US OSHA/Health Canada; and it’s hazardous communications, not “Heart of my Heart” (despite my fondness of the former!), that they’ve been “singing” about.
In any case, despite the efforts there are still some differences between the two countries. Health Canada, following the coming into force of the Hazardous Products Act/Regulations (“HPR- WHMIS 2015”) in February, has thoughtfully produced a summary table of variances between Canada’s WHMIS 2015 and US OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (“HazCom” or HCS2012”).
The obvious English-French bilingual requirement is first on the list. One aspect of this that is not highlighted is the requirement to provide BOTH languages on the SDS (either as a bilingual document- or with the 2 versions attached as a single document) when selling to a Canadian customer.
As indicated in the Canada Gazette II “regulatory impact analysis statement” (RIAS), various differences are necessary to either reflect constitutional/regulatory regimes or to ensure that worker protection features considered essential are maintained.
An example of the former is the requirement to differentiate and define “hazards not otherwise classified” (HNOC) between physical and health related hazards. Also the unilateral declaration of “proprietary” information, while not specifically mentioned in the summary guide, results from regulatory constraints.
The disclosure of information on carcinogenic ingredients is an example of the latter. WHMIS 2015 doesn’t require SDS Continue Reading…
Health Canada Reveals Final Version of Canadian GHS
An important change has occurred on the Canadian regulatory scene. Health Canada has released the long-awaited revisions to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) for hazardous workplace chemicals. This new system will introduce sweeping changes for classification of chemicals, labelling of workplace chemicals, and Material Safety Data Sheets (which will now be known simply as Safety Data Sheets or SDSs).
The new system will replace the Controlled Product Regulations with the Hazardous Products Regulations. This new regulation will incorporate a system that has been adopted by the United States, Europe and many other countries and economic zones. Using this new system is anticipated to help Canada compete in international markets, as well as make importing workplace chemicals less complicated and expensive.
The text of the new regulation can be downloaded from Canada Gazette’s website (PDF). Compliance will not be mandatory right away – there will be a series of transition periods, leading to final adoption by December 1, 2018. However, you may start using the new system immediately if you prefer.
Also updated is the regulation for considering trade secrets, the Hazardous Materials Information Review Regulations.
It was in a soft-drink bottle. It looked like lemonade. But 73-year-old Nola Murphy discovered, after pouring herself a glass, that it wasn’t. In fact, it was a toxic mould-remover that a cleaner had left sitting on a restaurant bar. The cleaner had poured the product from a larger container into the soft drink bottle for easier handling.
Mrs. Murphy was lucky – she survived the experience, although she required emergency hospital treatment. But her story, given in an article in the New Zealand Medical Journal, shows how putting hazardous chemicals in unlabeled containers can be a recipe for disaster. (More: The New Zealand Herald)
Many countries, including the United States and Canada, require hazardous chemicals sold to the workplace to be labeled by the supplier. Regulations such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and Canada’s WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), set out the basic requirements for such labels (called “supplier labels” under WHMIS, and “labels for shipped containers” by OSHA). But as Mrs. Murphy’s experience shows, many hazardous chemicals still end up in unlabeled containers. They may be poured (“decanted”) from larger containers for convenience. The original supplier label may have been damaged or removed. Or two or more chemicals in separate containers may be mixed together to make a new product. No matter how it happens, unlabeled chemicals create a Continue Reading…
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is due for its greatest shakeup ever, as the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is introduced to replace the current rules for classification and labelling, in a process sometimes called “WHMIS 2.0”. This will mark the greatest change ever to the venerable WHMIS system, first introduced in 1988, and will be a giant step forward for international harmonization.
The current WHMIS standard is uniquely Canadian, using a classification and labelling system different from those used by other countries. The GHS standard will bring Canada’s hazard communication system in line with the rest of the world. Harmonization should result in significant savings for Canadian manufacturers and distributors, while making sure that workers still receive the information they need to stay safe.
But time is running out for Canada – the European Union (EU) and United States have already implemented their systems, which are due to become mandatory June 1 next year. Health Canada, the federal department that administers WHMIS through the current Controlled Product Regulations (CPR), has little time left to introduce the GHS and have it in place by next year.
The Importance of WHMIS 2.0
Why is this important? WHMIS was developed by Canadians, without considering how hazard communication works in other countries. It uses a unique classification scheme, as well as a labelling system different from both the Continue Reading…
FAQs Arising from My Attendance at the SCHC Conference
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Q&A session at the fall session of the SCHC conference. The session included speakers from OSHA and Health Canada. There were a number of great questions, and here are some of those questions and answers that stood out to me.
Are any required pictograms being considered by OSHA for combustible dusts?
This topic is in discussion, but there is definitely an aversion to creating whole new pictograms (i.e., non-current GHS pictograms).
Will there be a Word template (like the old OSHA form 174) provided by OSHA?
Yes, but progress on it is very slow since it is not a priority.
Has there been any progress by OSHA on creating more pictogram precedence rules? Right now if you have an acute toxicity classification requiring a skull and crossbones, you would still have to include the exclamation if you had a STOT SE Category 3 material. The exclamation seems redundant.
There is “some” discussion on this but, more pressure from industry is needed for this discussion to progress further.
Is it okay with OSHA to continue using HMIS/NFPA in a US workplace?
Yes, but you need to make sure training and other information available on the GHS hazards of chemicals used in the workplace is readily available. Also, by 2016, HMIS/NFPA ratings are updated to reflect any “new” GHS Continue Reading…
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.
Comments 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 Continue Reading…