Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is a national hazard communication system which provides information on hazardous materials used in the workplace. WHMIS was developed to ensure that workers receive adequate hazard information about chemicals that are used in their workplace. Environment, Health and Safety provides generic WHMIS education on behalf of the University of Calgary. Supervisors are responsible for delivering and providing worksite specific WHMIS education.
WHMIS legislation states that information and instruction must be provided to all workers who work with or in proximity to a controlled product. A worker who works with a controlled product is any worker who stores, handles, uses/disposes a controlled product, or who immediately supervises another worker performing these duties. "In proximity" is the area in which worker's health and safety could be at risk during the following activities:
- the storage, handling, use, or disposal of product
- maintenance operations.
- emergencies such as an accidental release or spill..
Three Key Elements of WHMIS
- Labels: WHMIS labels on hazardous materials and their containers alert employers (supervisors) and workers to the dangers of the product and provide basic safety information.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS): SDSs are technical bulletins which provide detailed hazard and precautionary information on the product.
- Worker Education: Worker education programs provide instruction on hazards and training in work procedures.