Hazard identification is a core WHMIS requirement
Occupational health and safety legislation in Canada requires employers to “take every reasonable precaution to ensure the workplace is safe.” That responsibility includes identifying the hazards of all products their employees use in the workplace.
Employer responsibilities for chemical hazard identification & control
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety cites the following employer responsibilities for hazard identification and control under the WHMIS program:
- Know exactly what hazardous products are present, and how they are used, handled, or stored in the workplace.
- Identify the hazards associated with the use, storage, handling, and disposal of the hazardous products.
- Determine who may be exposed to the hazardous products.
- Develop procedures for
- Safe use, handling, storage, and disposal of a hazardous product
- How to protect workers who may be exposed
- What must be done in an emergency that involves the hazardous product
- Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the [control] program.
According to the CCOHS, employers must consult the hazard summary found on each product's safety data sheet (SDS) and assess the information as follows:
"Review each SDS to make sure the information is complete and accurate. You may need additional information from other sources (such as journals, text books, local jurisdictions, etc.). Knowing the hazards will help you make informed decisions about use, storage, disposal, education, training, and emergency response.”
How hazardous are your hazardous products?
Every workplace is different and uses different products. Under the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) there are approximately 70 different hazards identified. A typical workplace has about 40 of these hazards.
With SDS RiskAssist you’ll know every hazard of every product in your collection – instantly – so you can prioritize health and safety initiatives and update procedures to keep worker safe. Our database of more than 40,000 SDSs reveals the 10 most common chemical safety hazards are:
Health hazard warnings that should be on your radar
Safety data sheets contain serious health hazard warnings more often than most organization realize. Employers should be especially vigilant in monitoring chemical product SDSs for the following 10 serious health hazard warnings:
Customizing safety procedures for chemical product hazards
After you identify the hazards in your chemical product collection, you'll need to update your safety data sheets with specific instructions so employees know exactly how to safely store, use and dispose of each product, as well as what to do in an emergency.
SDS RiskAssist instantly sorts and prioritizes hazards across your entire SDS catalogue/collection to:
- Flag critical chemical hazards for your attention
- Link to applicable health and safety regulations to simplify your research
- Compare chemical products so you can choose safer options
- Apply your customized work instructions to each SDS (and each SDS RiskAssist SafetySnap summary)
- Provide on-demand relevant WHMIS hazard training for employees
SDS RiskAssist SafetySnaps are clear, one-page safety briefs that employees can rely on 24/7 to prevent hazard exposure. These concise summaries of all your SDSs, with your specific instructions and PPE requirements, eliminate hours of time reading SDSs and trying remember the information to keep safe on the job.
SafetySnaps help employers create a safety-first culture to reduce the risk of incidents that may compromise worker health and safety.