Sylvite's WHMIS 2015 Training

About this Training Program

Sylvite is committed to providing a work environment that is safe for all employees. Part of your job may require you to handle, use, store, and/or have to dispose of hazardous chemicals. It is important to know what types of hazardous materials are in your workplace because they contain chemicals that can be dangerous to your health and safety and that of your coworkers and customers. Workplace-specific WHMIS 2015 training may be needed in addition to this training program.


Module 1: Describes 2015/GHS and why it is important to workers

Module 2: Associated Hazards 

Module 3: Explains the WHMIS 2015 hazard classes and pictograms

Module 4: Information on supplier and workplace labels

Module 5: The purpose, content, and function of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Module 6: Explains how to control chemical hazards

Module 7: Describes legal rights and duties under WHMIS


Everyone who may be exposed to chemicals at work is required by law to receive WHMIS 2015 training. It is your Right to Know about the hazards in your workplace. 

Module 1: WHMIS 2015



Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems, referred to as WHMIS or WHMIS 1988, is a Canada-wide system which was developed jointly by labour, industry and federal, provincial and territorial governments. 

It was developed for people who may be exposed to hazardous materials on the job to have information available to protect their health and safety. 

WHMIS 1988  has been updated by GHS. The new WHMIS is known as WHMIS 2015.

The old WHMIS 1988 symbols are in the image on the left.

What does WHMIS stand for?

  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Identification System
  • Worker Hazardous Materials Information System
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System



  • GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.
  • The GHS is not a global law or regulation – a common misconception – it is a system. Think of it as a set of recommendations or collection of best practices. 
  • The GHS will modify the well-known, Canadian WHMIS program, updating the pictograms, labels,                   *(material) safety data sheets ((M)SDS) and changing classification requirements.  

  • While WHMIS 2015 includes new harmonized criteria for hazard classification and requirements for labels and SDS, the roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers and workers have not changed.

  • Designed to protect the health and safety of workers who produce, transport, handle, use, store, and dispose of chemical products.
  • This system was developed by the United Nations to establish common and consistent ways for countries to classify and communicate hazards through labels and Safety Data Sheets.
  • Over 65 counties have adopted GHS or are in the process of adopting GHS in their workplace health and safety laws. This includes Canada. The territories and provinces in Canada, like Ontario, have also changed or are changing their laws. Collectively, these federal and provincial laws are referred to as WHMIS 2015 legislation.

Read further to learn more about the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015/GHS in Canada.

*(Material) Safety Data Sheets ((M)SDS): Changes will be discussed in Module 5.

WHMIS was designed to protect the health and safety of workers who ______________ hazardous products in the workplace

  • Produce
  • Store
  • Handle
  • Use
  • Transport
  • Dispose of
  • All of the above

Why was GHS developed?

                   Consider the example above. For the same chemical, this is how different countries have categorized it on labels. 

Without GHS, there is inconsistency from one country to the next about how to label and handle hazardous products. This leads to confusion and misunderstanding which can cause serious injury or illness. GHS makes labelling more consistent and safer for all involved. 

Canada’s national hazard communication standard is changing to incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

 GHS will not replace WHMIS but will cause it to change in many ways.

Transition in Canada: Phase 1

Phase 1

The transition to WHMIS 2015 will take place in three phases.  The first phase began on February 11, 2015, when the amended federal Hazardous Products Act and new Hazardous Products Regulations came into force. WHMIS 1988 will be slowly phased out as outlined below.

Phase 1 began on February 11, 2015, and will end on May 31, 2018. During Phase 1:

  • Suppliers who are chemical manufacturers or importers may sell hazardous products with either the old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets or the new ones
  • Employers may receive and use hazardous products with either the old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets or the new ones

Transition in Canada: Phase 2

Phase 2

As of June 1, 2018, chemical manufacturers and importers must sell hazardous products with labels and safety data sheets that comply with the new WHMIS 2015 requirements.

Phase 2 begins on June 1, 2018, and ends on August 31, 2018. During Phase 2:

  • Suppliers who are chemical distributors may continue to sell hazardous products with either the old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets or the new ones
  • Employers may continue to receive and use hazardous products with either the old WHMIS labels and safety data sheets or the new ones

Transition in Canada: Phase 3

Phase 3

As of September 1, 2018, distributors must sell hazardous products that comply with WHMIS 2015 requirements only. The transition to WHMIS 2015 will be complete for all suppliers.

Phase 3 begins on September 1, 2018, and ends on November 30, 2018. During Phase 3:

  • Employers should only be receiving hazardous products with WHMIS 2015 labels and safety data sheets
  • Employers will have these final three months of the transition to bring their existing inventories of hazardous products into compliance with WHMIS 2015

By December 1, 2018, the transition to WHMIS 2015 must be complete for all parties. There should be no hazardous products in the workplace with the "old" 1988 WHMIS labels and safety data sheets.

Ministry of Labour

Ministry of Labour

As of July 1st, 2016, MOL inspectors began enforcing WHMIS 2015 requirements. They will also continue to enforce the “old” WHMIS 1988 requirements up to December 2018 as long at they are applicable in the workplace. MOL expects workers to be trained in both the “old” and “new” WHMIS standards if the workplace continues to use products that have hazards communicated under the 1988 and 2015 WHMIS standards.

Key points of WHMIS 2015

Four Aspects

Like WHMIS 1988, WHMIS 2015 focuses on four aspects of working with hazardous materials to help protect you from hazards: 

  • Safe use 
  • Safe handling 
  • Proper storage
  • Proper disposal procedure

To Protect Yourself

  • Recognize Hazards
  • Assess Hazards
  • Control Hazards

WHMIS 2015: Three Components 

  • Labels (found on containers): These labels use pictograms and brief statements to inform you about the hazards of chemicals and how to protect yourself from harm. 
  • Safety Data Sheets: Offers detailed information on hazardous materials as well as preventive and first aid measures.
  • Worker Education and Training: Teaches workers about labels and the SDS and how to safely use, handle, store and dispose of hazardous products. 

Quiz: True or False

Read the following statements and determine whether they are true or false. 

  • Three main parts to WHMIS 2015 are employee education and training, labels and safety data sheets.
  • Two areas that WHMIS 2015 focuses on are equal pay and fair hours for all workers.
  • The goal of WHMIS 2015 is to ensure that people who may be exposed to hazardous materials on the job have the information they need to protect their health and safety.
  • GHS was developed to establish common ways for countries to classify and communicate hazards by providing consistent labels and Safety Data Sheets.

Module 2: Chemical Hazards

Physical States of Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials in the workplace - solids, liquids or gases - exist in a variety of physical states depending on their original state and the type of processes they undergo shown in the image above.


  • Fumes are fine particles that form when evaporating solid condenses in cool air. 
    • Example: welding fumes
  • Dust is usually created by mechanical action on a solid material through grinding, cutting or crushing. Fine particles of dust can remain suspended in air. 
    • Examples: wood dust, metal dust
  • Smoke is formed when a solid material containing carbon is burned. Smoke usually consists of droplets as well as dry particles.
    • Example: by-product of fires (including stovescandlesoil lamps, and fireplaces)
  • Vapours are the gaseous forms of materials that are usually solid or liquid.
    • Example: paint thinners or cleaning agents 
  • Mists are suspended liquid droplets formed when a gas condenses into a liquid state.
    • Example:  oil mists from cutting or grinding and paint mists from spray paint 
  • Gases are materials that don't exist as a solid or liquid at room temperature and spread out to occupy the entire space they are in. 
    • Examples: carbon monoxide, propane, oxygen

Term Matching Quiz: Physical Properties

For each of the physical properties below, match the corresponding definition that applies. Refer to the last page for help. 

  • Fumes
    Fine particles that form when an evaporating solid condenses in cool air.
  • Dust
    Usually created by mechanical action on a solid material through grinding, cutting or crushing.
  • Smoke
    Formed when a solid material containing carbon is burned. Usually, consists of droplets as well as dry particles.
  • Vapours
    The gaseous form of materials that are usually solid or liquid, such as paint thinners or cleaning agents.
  • Mists
    Suspended liquid droplets formed when a gas condenses into a liquid state, such as oil mists from cutting or grinding and paint mists from spray paint.
  • Gases
    Materials that don't exist as a solid or liquid at room temperature, and spread out to occupy the entire space they are in.

How Chemicals can Enter the Body: Four Ways


  • Most common route of entry.
  • All six physical states of hazardous material - dust, fumes, smoke, mists, vapours and gases - can be breathed into the respiratory system.
  • The materials may damage the respiratory system itself or they may pass through the lungs into the bloodstream.


  • The skin protects the internal organs of the body from the outside environment, but it has a large surface area that can come into contact with hazardous materials. 
  • Some chemicals such as mineral spirits and other solvents can pass through the skin, enter the bloodstream and reach the liver or kidneys. 
  • A hazardous material may be absorbed and move on to another part of the body, or it may cause damage to the skin at the point of entry and cause diseases such as dermatitis. 


  • The purpose of the digestive system is to take in, break down and absorb food.
  • Hazardous materials may reach the stomach when food or drinks are consumed in a dusty work area, when workers fail to wash their hands before eating or smoking, or when food is left unwrapped in a dusty place.  
  • Once swallowed, the hazardous materials enter the digestive tract, from where they may enter the bloodstream and move on to the liver and kidneys. These organs try to remove the toxins from the body, but they don't always succeed.


  • Hazardous materials are sometimes injected into the body through a puncture or an open wound. 

Matching Scenario to the Term: Entering the Body

In each of the situations described below, determine how the substance enters the body: by absorption, injection, inhalation, and/or ingestion? 

  • An employee at a car dealership was using a detailing product that released ammonia on the inside of a customer's car. While performing the work, the employee only had one window slightly rolled down.
  • A hotel employee was doing a spot treatment on a small load of laundry in the laundry facility. The employee did not use the proper Personal Protective Gear and as a result received second-degree burns on his hands.
  • An office employee came across a messy office lunch area. Following good office protocol, she begins cleaning. Unfortunately, someone had left a used syringe underneath a napkin, which pierced her skin exposing her to an infectious hazard.
  • An open bucket of solvent is kept in the corner of a body shop for workers to wash with. Many find that their hands are often red, itchy and scaly. Some workers, especially those working nearest to the bucket, go home feeling "dopey" with a headache.
    Inhalation AND absorption
  • A landscaper was trying to loosen a bolt on a piece of equipment. He decided to use a degreasing product to loosen it and spray it right next to his open pop can. Feeling warm, he took a break from his task and took a drink.

A worker will always feel the effects of exposure to a hazardous chemical immediately.

Select the appropriate answer.

  • Yes
  • No

Effects of Exposure to Chemicals

Exposure and Dose

  • When chemicals enter the body, the effect of exposure is determined by the dose
  • The dose a person is the level of concentration of the chemical
  • The dose will determine the effects that the chemical causes in the body
  • All chemicals can be toxic to the human body
  • Chemical exposure can affect the body in three different ways (listed below)

Example:  Water can be toxic to a person if large volumes are swallowed in a short period of time

There are also several factors related to the individual that explains the varying effects exposure to the same chemical has on different people, such as:

  • Genetic make-up
  • Allergies
  • Presence of predisposing disease
  • Age

Difference Between Acute, Chronic and Latent Effects

Acute Effects

  • Happens immediately or soon after exposure 
  • Generally the results of high levels of exposure
  • Results from the direct action of the hazardous materials on the cells of the body 
  • They are sometimes fatal, but often treatable if caught soon enough 

Example: Sudden collapse of a worker who has been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide

Chronic Effects

  • Happens over time 
  • Often not reversible as chronic effects tend to become evident only after severe damage has occurred 

Example: Cancer is a chronic effect, as is lung scarring cause by silica dust 

Latent Effects

  • Occurs sometime after exposure 
  • Latency period
    • Time period between exposure to a chemical agent and the appearance of the symptoms
    • Latency period can vary from minutes, days, months, to years after the exposure 
  • Some of the most serious diseases resulting from exposure to hazardous materials may not occur until after a latency period of 30 years or more

Example: Exposure to ionizing radiation or asbestos causes few symptoms at the time of exposure, nut the long-term effects can be deadly 

Module 3: Hazard Classes and Pictograms

Two Hazard Groups With Many Classes

Physical Hazard Group

  • Classification is based on the physical or chemical properties of the product
    • Flammability -  ability of a substance to burn or ignite, causing fire or combustion
    • Reactivity - may react with either water, oxygen, physical shaking depending on the substance
    • Corrosivity - it can eat away at the skin or other tissue

Example: Propane and gasoline are examples of physical hazards

Within each hazard group, there are hazard classes (see below).

Health Hazard Group

  • Classification is based on the ability of the product to cause a health effect
    • Eye irritation - itchiness, watering, loss of vision and etc
    • Respiratory sensitization - may cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled
    • Carcinogenicity - may cause cancer 

Example: Paint thinner, bleach, and Isopropyl are examples of health hazards 

WHMIS 1988 vs. WHMIS 2015: Hazard Class & Category

Hazard Categories 

  • Every hazard class has at least a single category. Categories may also be called "types".
  • A category or type defines the severity or nature of the hazardous product. Hazard categories have been assigned a number (e.g. 1, 2). Hazard types are assigned an alphabetical letter (e.g. A, B).
  • Sub-categories are identified with a number and a letter (e.g. 1A and 1B).
  • Category 1 is always the greatest level of hazard (that is, it is the most hazardous within that class). If Category 1 is further divided, Category 1A within the same hazard class is a greater hazard than category 1B.
  • Category 2 within the same hazard class is more hazardous than category 3, and so on.

WHMIS 1988 vs. WHMIS 2015 (GHS) Comparison Chart

Single Choice Quiz: Hazard Categories

John started his brand new job last week. Today he will be working on removing grease from several parts of a car. He looks for the appropriate agent on the storage self and finds four different brands. He reads the label for each and finds the following information. Which chemical is more hazardous in the following Case Study? Select the appropriate answer.

  • XYZ Chemical: Acute Toxicity Category 3A
  • ABC Chemical: Acute Toxicity Category 4A
  • MNO Chemical: Acute Toxicity Category 2C
  • QRS Chemical: Acute Toxicity Category 3B

WHMIS 2015 Pictograms

The above picture is the changes made to the graphic images that immediately show the user of a hazardous product from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015.

With a quick glance, you can see, for example, that a product is flammable, or if it might be a health hazard. A hazardous product may be assigned to more than one pictogram depending on its hazard class and category.

The rest of module 3 will be focused on a more in-depth look at each pictogram with information on the meaning, safe work practices followed by examples.

Flame Over Circle

Flame Over Circle

What does this pictogram mean?

  • Refers to oxidizing materials
  • Oxygen is necessary for a fire to burn
  • Materials with this pictogram may release oxygen making materials burn faster, causing fires to get bigger and hotter and can cause other materials to suddenly catch fire and burn, sometimes even without an ignition source

How to work with it safely

  • Keep away from heat
  • Keep away from flammable and combustible materials
  • Do not drop or shake


  • Bleach
  • Oxygen gas 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 

Glass Cylinder

Gas Cylinder

What does this pictogram mean?

  • Means that the contents are kept under pressure as a gas, and may explode if heated. In addition, a leaking cylinder can rapidly release extremely large amounts of gas into the workplace
  • The gas itself could be toxic or hazardous in other ways

How to work with it safely

  • Follow the company's safe handling procedures
  • Store the cylinder in a cool, dry and safe place
  • Check the cylinder and valve system for damage, leaks, and wear


  • Acetylene (this colourless gas is widely used as a fuel and a chemical building block)
  • Oxygen



What does this pictogram mean?

  • Materials with the corrosion pictogram may react with metals and living tissue on contact
  • They can be in the form of solids, liquids and gases
  • These products can damage or destroy metals (steel and aluminium) and can cause serious eye damage and skin corrosion
  • Corrosives may irritate the skin, eyes or lungs on contact and may cause severe burns if the worker is exposed for a longer period of time
  • They may also cause blindness if the eyes are affected

How to work with it safely

  • Proper ventilation, storage, handling, and disposal of corrosives can reduce the risks
  • Wear the correct personal protective equipment if there is a chance of skin or eye contact with the chemical, or if vapours could be inhaled 


  • Bleach 
  • Sulphuric Acid (a highly corrosive strong mineral acid and is one of the most important industrial chemicals) 
  • Chlorine Gas (Chlorine kills bacteria and is a disinfectant)

Exploding Bomb

Exploding Bomb

What does this pictogram mean?

  • The exploding bomb pictogram means unstable materials that can cause or increase the intensity of a fire and may be highly reactive (may react with either water, oxygen. or physical shaking, depending on the substance) or explode
  • These flammables are in the form of gases, aerosols, liquids or solids

How to work with it safely

  • Always read the SDS prior to handling as reactant substances vary greatly
  • Ensure proper storage, handling, use of PPE and firefighting equipment is available
  • Separate storage area from other chemicals
  • Only store the minimum amount of this product that is needed at any one time


  • Aerosol paint cans
  • Ether (An extremely flammable chemical and is used as an antiseptic in order to prevent infection. Ethers are also used in cold weather to start a diesel or petrol engine.)



What does this pictogram mean?

  • The flame pictogram means a solid, liquid or gas that will ignite and continue to burn if exposed to a flame
  • Four types of materials you may commonly encounter at work with the flame pictogram are flammable gases, aerosols, liquids and solids. All of these materials will burn if ignited by a spark, static discharge or a hot surface.
  • You could be burned from the fire or explosion, or breathe in the vapours which may be given off when there is a fire

How to work with it safely

  • Avoid all ignition sources
  • Ensure proper grounding and bonding of containers when pouring liquids
  • Wear and use the correct personal protective equipment for the job (e.g. gloves, face shields, respirators, etc.)


  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Acetone (a good solvent for many plastics and some synthetic fibres) 
  • Varnish (a transparent, hard, protective finish or film)
  • Sodium

Health Hazard

Health Hazard

What does this pictogram mean?

  • The health hazard pictogram means the danger of serious health effects for a number of classes such as acute toxicity, skin corrosion or serious eye damage/eye irritation, cancer or reproductive effects
  • Materials may cause harmful effects after repeated exposures or over a long period of time
  • May cause death or permanent injury, birth defects, cancer or allergies

How to work with it safely

  • Avoid direct contact
  • Make sure that the controls provided, such as ventilation, are used
  • Wear the correct personal protective equipment


  • Acetone
  • Benzene (a widely used industrial chemical)
  • Propane
  • Silica (a very common mineral found in many materials common on construction sites, including soil, sand, and concrete)
  • Asbestos (a naturally occurring fibrous material that was a popular building material from the 1950s to 1990s)
  • Wood and grain dust

Exclamation Mark

Exclamation Mark

What does this pictogram mean?

  • The exclamation mark pictogram on a label signifies the danger of serious health effects such as respiratory or skin sensitization or specific target organ toxicity from a single or repeated exposure

How to work with it safely

  • Use protective gloves to cover hands and use respirators when scrubbing out chemicals
  • Ensure good mechanical (e.g. fan) ventilation to avoid build-up of chemicals


  • Acrylonitrile (a highly poisonous compound used widely in the manufacture of plastics, adhesives and synthetic rubber)
  • Hydrogen Sulfide (Produced naturally from decaying organic matter. Hydrogen sulfide has a variety of industrial uses.) 

Skull and Crossbones

Skull and Crossbones

What does this pictogram mean?

  • Poisonous materials which may cause serious health effects such as loss of consciousness, coma or death within minutes of exposure
  • With short exposure, severe health effects or even death can result even in small quantities 
  • The way these hazardous materials cause injury is by inhalation, absorption or ingestion

How to work with it safely

  • Substitute the toxic materials with less hazardous materials if possible
  • Wear the correct personal protective equipment
  • Follow proper handling, storage and disposal procedures


  • Methylene Chloride (This colourless, volatile liquid with a moderately sweet aroma is widely used as a solvent)
  • Sulphuric Acid 
  • Hydrogen Sulphide 



What does this pictogram mean?

  • Material that is hazardous to the aquatic environment
  • Chemicals with this pictogram may have acute or chronic effects on aquatic organisms and/or aquatic ecosystems

NOTE: This pictogram was not adopted by Canada, however, you may see this pictogram on products from other countries. 

How to work with it safely

  • Ensure disposal of chemicals complies with applicable requirements, which can be covered in the SDS
  • Avoid disposal in drains, soil or waterways in or adjacent to the building


  • Oil 
  • Heavy Metal
  • Pesticides

Biohazardous Infectious Materials

Biohazardous Infectious Materials

What does this pictogram mean?

  • Used for organisms or toxins that can cause infectious diseases, illnesses or death in people or animals
  • Hazardous materials with this symbol are usually found in medical and health care facilities and in agricultural settings

How to work with it safely

  • Store only in specially designated areas
  • Avoid breathing the vapours


  • Needles 
  • Blood and blood contaminated materials
  • Contaminated animals or animal by-products
  • Feces
  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Mold contaminated materials

Pictogram Quiz #1

Select the right pictogram for the following definition.

These materials may release oxygen making materials burn faster and more vigorously and could cause other flammable and combustible materials to ignite and burn.

Pictogram Quiz #2

Select the right pictogram for the following definition.

Poisonous materials which may cause serious health effects such a loss of consciousness, coma or death within minutes of exposure.

Pictogram Quiz #3

Select the right pictogram for the following definition.

Materials that are hazardous to the aquatic environment. Chemicals with this pictogram may have acute or chronic effects on aquatic organisms and/or ecosystems.

Pictogram Quiz #4

Select the right pictogram for the following definition.

Used for organisms or toxins that can cause serious infectious diseases, illness or death in people or animals. It is usually found in medical and health care facilities.

Pictogram Quiz #5

Select the right pictogram for the following definition.

These materials may react with metals and living tissue on contact. They can be in the form of a solid, liquid or gas and can cause serious eye damage and skin corrosion. 

Module 4: Labels

Labels Overview

The image above is a visual of the differences between the WHMIS 1988 label and the WHMIS 2015 label.

Labels in Canada

  • In Canada, WHMIS 2015 legislation requires that products used in the workplace classified as hazardous must be labelled. 
  • Labels are the first alert to the user about the major hazards associated with that product and outline the basic precautions or safety steps that should be taken.
  • Suppliers are responsible for labelling the hazardous products that they provide to customers.
  • Employers are responsible for making sure that hazardous products that come into the workplace are labelled and to prepare and apply a workplace label when appropriate. 

There are three main label types:

  • Supplier labels 
  • Workplace labels 
  • Laboratory (Lab) labels 

Always read the label before using a hazardous product; the supplier may have changed the contents which may affect specific hazards

Supplier Labels

Supplier Labels 

  • Placed on containers by the supplier or manufacturer of the hazardous material. 
  • No other label is required if the hazardous product is always used in the container with the supplier label. 
  • Supplier labels must be written in English and French.

This is the pieces of information ou will find on a supplier label: 

  1. Product Identifier
  2. Initial Supplier Identifier
  3. Pictogram(s)
  4. Signal Word 
  5. Hazard Statement(s)
  6. Precautionary Statement(s)
  7. Supplemental Label Information (If applicable)

Supplier Label Requirements

The above image provides requirements needed on hazardous product labels found in workplaces. 

Matching Question: Supplier Label Components

For each of the definitions below, match the supplier label component that applies. 

  • Product Identifier
    The brand name, chemical name, common name, generic name, or trade name of the hazardous product
  • Hazard Statements
    Standardized phrases which describe the nature of the hazard presented by a hazardous product.
  • Signal Word
    A word used to alert the reader to a potential hazard and to indicate the severity of the hazard.
  • Initial Supplier Identifier
    The name, address and telephone number if either the Canadian manufacturer or the Canadian importer.
  • Pictogram
    Used to illustrate the type of hazard(s) associated with a product in a quick way.
  • Precautionary Statements
    Standardized phrases that describe measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous product or resulting from improper handling and storage of a hazardous product.

Workplace Labels

Workplace Labels

  • Requirements for the workplace label are specified by the government. 
  • The 3 components below are the basic required components on a WHMIS 2015 workplace label, however, your employer may choose to add more information from the SDS (e.g. Pictogram).

WHMIS 2015 Workplace Label

  1. Product Name - Chemical name or number used on the Safety Data Shet and as shown on the container
  2. Safe Handling Precautions - May include pictograms or other supplier label information that describes recommended measures to minimize adverse effects resulting from exposure
  3. Reference to SDS (if available) - The single word (Danger or Warning) and pictograms may be included on a workplace label but this is not mandatory

When to Use and Not Use a Workplace Label

When a Workplace Label is Required

A workplace label is required when: 

  • A hazardous product is produced (made) at the workplace and used in that workplace
  • A hazardous product is transferred or poured into another container
  • A supplier label becomes lost or unreadable
  • If the product is not used right away or if more than one person will be in control of the product

When a Workplace Label is NOT Required

Sometimes a workplace label is not required. Examples include when a hazardous product is: 

  • Poured into a container and it is going to be used immediately
  • Under the control of the person who transferred it. For example, when the person who poured the product into another container will be the only person who will use it, and the product will be used during one shift, a full workplace label may not be required.  However, the container must still be identified with the product identifier (name).

Laboratory (Lab) Labels

Basic Concepts 

There are some basic concepts around lab label usage: 

  • Containers must remain labelled until empty and discarded 
  • Any information supplied on the label could be in the form of pictures, symbols or text. The information must be reinforced with worker education
  • Requirements also apply to gas cylinders, some piping, and valves carrying hazardous substances 


  1. The chemical name 
  2. The statement, "Hazardous Laboratory Sample. For hazard information or in an emergency, call..."
  3. An emergency telephone number to call to get information that would be supplied on the SDS for the product 

True or False: Workplace Labels

Answer true or false for each situation based on this statement, "The situation requires a workplace label." 

  • John, a worker at an auto dealership needs to transfer a chemical from a labelled container into another container that will not be used immediately.
  • Sarah, an agricultural worker has just transferred a chemical from a supplier container into a smaller portable one. The contents of the portable container are identified and she plans to use the product immediately during her shift.
  • ABC Chemicals produces their own chemical products on the premises.
  • Pete, a worker at ABC bricks notices that the original supplier label is damange on a chemuical product he uses for work.

Module 5: Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

What is on a SDS?

 Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) 

(Formally known as Material Safety Data Sheets)

  • A Safety Data Sheet describes properties, potential hazards, and how to use a particular material or product safely 
  • Before working with hazardous chemicals, always read the SDSs for specific hazards and measures that apply to the product
  • It is the employee's responsibility to apply the information provided in the SDS in their workplace
  • It is also important to recognize that the quality of information provided on SDS may vary from supplier to supplier. Any questions or concerns related to the hazardous product you are using should be discussed with your supervisor

The two images below identifies information found in each of the 16 sections on  Safety Data Sheets.

Matching Question: The following statements have been taken from the SDS for Isopropyl Alcohol.

Match each statement to the correct section number and name. Please note that sections 2, 3, 6, 9, 11, 15, and 16 are not included in this question. 

  • Section 1: Product and Company Identification
    Name: Isopropyl Alcohol . For hazardous material incidents ONLY - leaks, spills, fires, exposures or accidents in USA or CANADA: Call CHEMTREC 1-800-424-9300.
  • Section 4: First Aid Measures
    Immediate Symptoms: irritation, tearing, redness, pain. Get medical advice/attention if you feel unwell. Show this safety data sheet to the doctor in attendance.
  • Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures
    Highly flammable liquid and vapour. Suitable Extinguishing Media: Water spray, foam, dry powder or carbon dioxide.
  • Section 7: Handling and Storage
    Store in a well-ventilated area. Keep cool. Store locked up.
  • Section 8: Exposure Controls/ Personal Protection
    For over-exposure up to 10x (Occupational Exposure Limit) (OEL) of mist/vapour/spray, wear respirator such as a half-mask respirator with organic vapour cartridges.
  • Section 10: Stability and Reactivity
    The material is stable under normal conditions. Isopropyl alcohol is susceptible to oxidation and can form peroxides. Concentrated peroxides may explode when subjected to heat or shock.
  • Section 12: Ecological Information
    The product components are not classified as environmentally hazardous. However, this does not exclude the possibility that large or frequent spills can have a harmful or damaging effect on the environment.
  • Section 13: Disposal Information
    Discharge, treat or dispose of in accordance with all local, regional, national and international regulations.
  • Section 14: Transport Information
    Shipping name: ISOPROPANOL.

Module 6: Controlling Chemical Hazards

Types of Control

What is a Control?

A control is how your employer eliminates or minimizes the hazard to an acceptable level. There are various types of controls which vary in effectiveness. The following diagram illustrates the most effective to least effective controls.


  1. Elimination - Removing the hazardous chemical from the workplace.
  2. Substitution - Substitute hazardous substance for a less hazardous one or use a different form.
  3. Engineering - By reducing exposure, while the hazard may still exist, the likelihood of someone getting close to it is significantly reduced. Example: Isolation of emission sources or ventilation systems to dilute the air.
  4. Awareness - Fire alarms, warning alarms and signage.
  5. Administrative Controls - Training, job rotation, work/rest schedules, and adjusted work practices. 
  6. Personal Protective Equipment - Respirators, gloves, eye protection, foot protection, and face shields.

Matching Question: Type of control

Match the correct type of control to the corresponding description.

  • Administrative
    An employer receiving training on a new chemical product.
  • Engineering
    Removal of the toxic substance, a dangerous piece of equipment or a hazardous process.
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    A worker wearing gloves and eye protection while using a chemical.
  • Awareness
    Hearing an alarm due to a fire.
  • Elimination
    Using methods such as a ventilation system to eliminate or minimize the hazard.
  • Substitution
    Replacement of the toxic hazardous materials, equipment or processes with those that are less harmful.

Module 7: Legal Rights and Duties under WHMIS 2015

Duty of Suppliers

Suppliers must: 

  • Ensure that an up to date supplier label is attached to the container of a hazardous product before it is sold
  • Ensure that the SDS contains up-to-date information, and is available in English and French
  • Suppliers and importers are allowed a period of 90 days to update SDSs with new data and 180 days to update labels
  • Provide a copy of the SDS to the purchaser on or before the date of sale

The Employer's Responsibility

Employers must: 

  • Ensure that all containers of hazardous materials entering the workplace are labelled
  • Prepare and attach a workplace label when required
  • Ensure that copies of the SDS are available to employees
  • Develop an SDS for any hazardous product that is produced internally 
  • Update labels and SDSs when significant new data becomes available 
  • Train employees in both the generic parts of WHMIS 2015 (e.g. labels and SDSs) and in how to safely handle the chemicals that they may be exposed to in their workplace 

A Supervisor's Responsibility

Supervisors, just like employers are required to: 

  • Make sure that you wear and use personal protective devices
  • Provide training and instruction on workplace hazards and procedures
  • Inform you of any potential or actual health and safety hazards in the workplace
  • Take all reasonable precautions to protect your health and safety

The Worker's Responsibility

As a worker, you must: 

  • Follow all health and safety instructions and requirements in order to protect yourself and others 
  • Use or wear the equipment or protective devices or clothing that your employer requires you to use or wear 
  • Read, understand and follow the instructions on labels and SDSs - If you are in doubt, ask questions
  • Check that a workplace label is attached when transferring a chemical to a new container
  • Report any labels that are unreadable or have been removed, altered or defaced to your supervisor so that he or she can take corrective action
  • Report hazards to your supervisor

Drop-down Question: Who is Responsible for each task listed? Supplier, Employer, Worker or Supervisor?

  1. Ensure that an up-to-date label is attached to the container of a hazardous product before it is sold. 
  2. Provide a copy of the most updated SDS to the purchaser.  
  3. Read, understand, and follow the instructions on workplace labels and SDS.  
  4. Inform you of any potential or actual health and safety hazards in the workplace.  
  5. Check that a workplace label is attached when transferring a chemical to a new container, and report any labels that are unreadable or have been removed, altered, damaged to a supervisor so that the supervisor can take corrective actions. 

Drop-down Question #2: Who is Responsible for each task listed? Supplier, Employer, Worker or Supervisor?

  1. Develop an SDS for any hazardous product that is produced internally.  
  2. Ensure that all containers of hazardous materials entering the workplace are labelled and remain labelled.  
  3. Make sure that you wear and use personal protective devices.  
  4. Ensure that copies of the SDS are available to workers and to make sure that workers are instructed on the contents of an SDS. 
  5. Train workers to safely use, handle, and store the chemical products that they may be exposed to at work. 

What happens when an inspector visits the workplace?

Workplace Inspections

Inspectors have the authority to ensure that occupational health and safety legislation is being followed.

For WHMIS, for example, employers should be prepared to:

  • Demonstrate that a WHMIS program is in place.
  • Show where the SDSs are for the hazardous products used at that workplace.
  • Show that hazardous products in use have the appropriate labels.
  • Show education and training records for employees who work with or may be exposed to a hazardous product.

Inspectors may need to speak to workers to confirm that education and training has taken place. Workers should be able to answer these questions for every hazardous product they work with:

  • What are the hazards of the product?
  • How do I protect myself from those hazards?
  • What do I do in case of an emergency?
  • Where can I get further information?


True or False: Review

  • WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System.
  • Employers must supply WHMIS training only to workers who are exposed to hazardous materials on a daily basis.
  • WHMIS was created in response to the Canadian workers' right to know about the safety and health hazards that may be associated with the materials or chemicals they use at work.
  • Hazard classes are grouped under Physical Hazards and Health Hazards. Hazard classes also contain categories, subcategories, and/or types.
  • Hazard classes and classification criteria will remain the same from the transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015/GHS.
  • A supplier label and a workplace label are exactly the same.

Single Choice Question: Personal Protective Equipment

What is Personal Protective Equipment? Select the appropriate answer.

  • Is any device worn or used by a worker to protect against hazards such as exposure to chemicals.
  • Is the least preferable type of control because the hazards still exists in the workplace.
  • Includes items such a respirators, gloves, eye protection, face sheilds, foot protection.
  • All of the above.

Quiz: Workplace incidents can be prevented with...

Select all that apply.

  • Proper labelling
  • Proper storage of a hazardous chemical
  • Proper training

Scenario: Liquid is spilling from a chemical drum and a worker has been told to clean the floor. The supplier label has been torn off. What should they do?

Select the appropriate answer.

  • Not work with the liquid; tell his supervisor immediately about the missing label
  • Put gloves on "just in case"
  • Clean the floor as he was told to do
  • All of the above

Single Choice Question: What information is not on the supplier label?

  • Date of the manufacture of the product
  • Precautionary statements
  • Hazard statements
  • Product identifier

Single Choice Question: Safety Data Sheets contain information such as:

  • First aid measures
  • How to lift and carry the container
  • Safe handling and storage information
  • A and C are found on the Safety Data Sheet

Single Choice Question: You are preparing to work with a new hazardous material. You need to know what Personal Protective Equipment to wear. What would you do?

Select the appropriate answer.

  • Wear what you wore when you worked with a similar material
  • Wear what other employees who seem to be working with the same material or in the same area are wearing
  • Read the label and Safety Data Sheet
  • Look for equipment around the workstation that looks suitable

Single Choice Question: What way does WHMIS requires information to be provided to workers through?

Select the appropriate answer.

  • Pictograms
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
  • Worker taining in WHMIS 2015
  • All of the above

Single Choice Question: Why are WHMIS 2015 labels important?

Select the appropriate answer.

  • They tell you how the hazardous material could harm you
  • They tell you how to manufacture the hazardous material
  • Worker taining in WHMIS 2015
  • All of the above

Single Choice Question: The most common route of entry for hazardous materials to enter the body is:

Select the appropriate answer.

  • Absorption
  • Ingestion
  • Inhalation
  • Injection


Was the course informative, useful and relevant?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to answer

Did you learn anything new?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to answer

How would you rate your overall experience with the training program?

  • 5 ★ - Excellent training program (no changes needed)
  • 4 ★ - Great training program (could be even better)
  • 3 ★ - Decent training program (needs some improvements)
  • 2 ★ - Noticeable problems in the training program (needs major improvements)
  • 1 ★ - Absolutely horrible training program (everything needs to be improved)
  • Prefer not to answer

What suggestions do you have to improve the training program?

Any feedback is appreciated! Please write "no suggestions" if you do not have any.