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A Guide to Chemical Safety Compliance

Why do I need a guide to chemical safety compliance?

Employees use chemical products in workplaces every day. Most never think about the potential consequences nor about the possibility that use of the chemical products may harm them or fall under legal regulations. But this is going to change. In Ontario, Canada, the Occupational Cancer Research Centre is now publishing occupational disease statistics, by sector. Before long, all employers will be having a closer look at the chemicals they manage to ensure they reduce the risk to your employees.

A guide to chemical safety compliance will help give you an overview of how to determine if your workplace chemical use is regulated and if so, how to meet the requirements of applicable regulations.

The guide discusses how to: develop and maintain an accurate record of your chemicals and their Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) or GHS (outside of Canada) safety data sheets (SDSs); understand the harm they can cause to employees and the environment; judge the likelihood of this harm occurring in your organization; spot the gaps in your chemical safety management system that could prevent the harm; close the gaps to protect people and the planet; train employees; review and maintain the process.

Chemical safety compliance has a steep learning curve but by following this guide, you will find that the process becomes intuitive and before long, you and your team will be managing chemical safety in realtime!

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Chemicals can and do hurt people in workplaces every day. In Canada, the cost of this harm to our society is measured in the billions of dollars.

Regulations are passed into law to make employers aware of their need to understand how chemicals can hurt people and the environment. They also provide the necessary enforcement tools, in the form of fines, to “encourage” employers to prevent the harm.

In Canada, the regulations to protect the environment are set by both the Canadian as well as the provincial/territorial governments. Whereas the regulations for occupational health and safety fall solely under the control of provincial/territorial governments, unless you work for a federally regulated industry, which is regulated under the Canada Labour Code.

If you manage large quantities of chemicals that can cross your air, water or soil property lines, you will need to be aware of the environmental laws in addition to the occupational health and safety laws.