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Case Study - Large Municipality Chemical Hazards Audit

Large Municipality Chemical Hazards Audit:

Evaluation of Chemical Hazards in a Large Municipality

Municipalities use large numbers of chemical products as part of their daily operations. Think about the tasks their workers perform ... water/waste water treatment, recreational facilities care, fleet maintenance, road maintenance, police services, first responders' equipment, long term care homes, etc. In fact, a large municipality would use over 1500 chemical products.

To provide insight into the types of health and environmental hazards posed by the chemicals used within a large municipality, Rillea Technologies used SDS RiskAssist data analysis technology to conduct an audit on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Safety Data Sheet (SDS) documents for a large Ontario-based municipality with over 10,000 employees.

Read more about how SDS RiskAssist can be invaluable for municipalities in the following case study.

  • Infographic
  • Executive Summary

Chemical Hazards Audit Case Study Overview


Large Municipality


Ontario, Canada

WHMIS Documents:








Challenge: Previously Unknown chemical risk

SDS RiskAssist Key Findings:

Health Hazard Risks:

  • 108 products contain urgent hazards, not mitigated by normal safety protocols
  • 520 additional products contain a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive toxicant or respiratory sensitizer (Occupational Disease)
  • Results show that many of the urgent and occupational disease hazards are also environmental pollutants. Controlling or eliminating these hazards lowers risk of harm to employees and the community.
SDS RiskAssist WHMIS SDS Audit of chemical hazards for Upper Tier Municipality
Executive Summary

Findings from the data analyzed during a chemical audit of a large municipality's WHMIS safety data sheet collection included identifying that:

  • 6% of the products were associated with "urgent" hazards such as those classified as "Fatal if Inhaled", "Toxic of inhaled" and other types of hazards that are not normally addressed through typical safety programs.
  • 30% of the products included a WHMIS occupational disease hazard like "May cause cancer", "May cause damage to organs", "May cause genetic defects".
  • 34% of the products had common hazards that are normally controlled with standard safety protocols.
  • 1% of the products had only environmental hazards associated with them
  • 5% of products had unknown hazards meaning that their safety data sheets did not comply with the Hazardous Products Regulations.
  • 24% of the products had no hazards.

SDS RiskAssist also enabled analysis of subsets of data. It was hypothesized that products that present harm to humans, also present harm to the environment. To test this theory, the "urgent" and "occupational" disease hazardous chemicals were further analyzed. The results of the analysis were as follows:

Urgent hazards (108 assessed)

  • 65% contained hazardous waste ingredients
  • 63% contained air pollutants
  • 9% contained water pollutants
  • 3% contained greenhouse gases
  • 1% contained endocrine disruptors

Occupational Disease hazards (520 assessed)

  • 74% contained hazardous waste ingredients
  • 56% contained air pollutants
  • 29% contained water pollutants
  • 5% contained greenhouse gases
  • 4% contained endocrine disruptors

It is clear that by controlling or eliminating chemical products that present urgent or occupational disease hazards, municipalities will help prevent harm to both employees and the local environment.

The WHMIS Gap White Paper Image

Millions of Canadians are exposed to chemical hazards in the workplace every year. Discover the gap that exists between the intent of WHMIS and the on-the-ground reality + get 3 steps to reduce the risks.