We are frequently asked: “Who should take WHMIS 2015 training?

The short answer is: everyone.

The longer answer is: If you or your employees received WHMIS training previously, you were most likely trained on the soon to be replaced WHMIS 1988 standard. In 2015, Canada aligned their Workplace Hazardous Material Information Management System (WHMIS) standard with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) by amending the Hazardous Products Act and the new Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). By doing so, they created a new training standard known as WHMIS 2015. Both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 are currently in force. However, and most importantly, WHMIS 1988 will be phased out over the next 2 years, by December 1, 2018.
This means that everyone must retrain on WHMIS 2015. Here’s the general schedule and deadlines:

  • Manufacturers and importers started switching on February 11, 2015 and are required to adhere to WHMIS 2015 by May 31, 2017.
  • Suppliers and distributors must switch to WHMIS 2015 by May 31, 2018 and may already follow the new requirements for labels and SDSs for hazardous products distributed in Canada. You may have already, knowingly or unknowingly, received hazardous products on your work sites that follow the new WHMIS 2015 requirements.
  • Everyone else must be compliant with WHMIS 2015 as soon as they start receiving products with the new GHS Labels and SDS, but no later than December 1, 2018.

Who must receive WHMIS 2015 training?

From a due diligence perspective, and to ensure worker protection, employers must educate and train all relevant workers about WHMIS 2015 as new labels and SDS appear in the workplace. Relevant workers will include, but are not limited to, all those who:

  • May be exposed to a hazardous product due to their work activities (including normal use, maintenance activities, or emergencies)
  • Use, store, handle, or dispose of a hazardous product
  • Supervise or manage workers who may be exposed, or use, store, handle ,or dispose of a hazardous product
  • Are involved in emergency response

The next question that arises is whether the previous WHMIS 1988 training is still sufficient? The short answer is: No.

It’s not sufficient if there is any chance that there are hazardous products in the workplace that follow the new WHMIS 2015 requirements for labels and SDSs. As always, it’s best to be proactive. Be compliant, support your workforce, and train them on WHMIS 2015.

About SafetyVantage

SafetyVantage is a leading provider of technology-based educational curriculum and assessment solutions for the occupational health and safety (OHS) industry. Well-known for providing practical, engaging, and relevant solutions, the Alberta-based company has significant expertise and experience in the OHS compliance and training space.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: SafetyVantage provides information about topical OH&S issues to assist existing and potential customers to cope with their own OH&S needs. SafetyVantage believes that the information and guidelines provided are consistent with industry practices at the time the information was compiled. It is not intended to be legal information or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your situation