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Simple, Relevant Messages for End-Users of Hazardous Chemicals

Written by: Rob Hallsworth

Published on: 22 March 2017

The end-users of hazardous chemicals in the workplace are workers, students, clients or contractors. They are typically not the technical experts who understand the chemical properties, potential hazards and exposure control methods for the materials they are using.

The Workplace Hazardous Information Management System (WHMIS) attempts to help end-users by requiring the use of  Safety Data Sheets and Workplace labels. While WHMIS does centralizes the information, it is still complex and not actionable. As a result, end-users suffer from information overload and are often unaware of the hazards and the correct steps they should take to protect themselves. What must employers do to help?

Make use of WHMIS 2015 and its Hazard Statements

Those who know the most about the chemicals (manufacturers and suppliers) have the responsibility to assess detailed technical information and share it with their customers - the end-users who handle or store the hazardous chemicals.

Along with the detailed information, manufacturers and suppliers are required to classify chemicals and provide easy to understand pieces of information - statements that describes chemical hazards in a simple, direct manner

                      Causes severe skin burns

Add Clear and Practical Instructions for End-Users

Included in the safety data sheet are WHMIS mandated precautionary statements and exposure control and personal protection information provided by the manufacturer or supplier. This information covers the product only, it does not take into account the operating environment, the type of activity and the unique individual who is the end-user. It is the employer who needs to consider these additional factors and create clear and practical instructions for their end-users.

Changing this generic information from an SDS

                    Select glove material impermeable and resistant to the substance

Into this specific requirement

                     Wear butyl rubber gloves

The Combined result is a Message that is Simple and Relevant

                     Causes severe skin burns - wear butyl rubber gloves

And that meets the specific needs of your end-users.

Get confident as an end-user that you can handle hazardous materials. For more easy to understand information check out our other blogs. Feel free to contact us with questions.

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SDS RiskAssist an Ontario-based company that uses the power of technology to give employers control and understanding over the otherwise pervasive and worrisome use of chemicals. SDS RiskAssist enables workers to know why chemicals are being used, what their benefits and hazards are and how to use them safely! Workers can access this knowledge via mobile or desktop SafetySnaps™, from anywhere in the world. SDS RiskAssist is the winner for 5 years running, of Readers’ Choice Awards by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine (2018-2022); the 2019 Innovation Guelph Startup of the Year Award; the 2019 Quinte Business Achievement Award (Trailblazer category) and The Ottawa Network’s 2020 Bootstrap Award (SaaS category). We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with our clients to take action for a sustainable planet.