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.