What do I need to know about the dangers in my workplace?

Understand Workplace Hazardous Materials markings

Your employer must train you on the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) if there are dangerous materials in your workplace.

WHIMS applies in all parts of Canada. It has standard rules and ways of dealing with dangerous materials.

The training must include:

  • how to handle materials safely
  • what to do in an emergency
  • how to read WHMIS labels
  • where to find safety data sheets for dangerous materials

Your employer must make sure that all dangerous materials have WHMIS labels. These tell you what makes a product dangerous, and list the basic safety steps you should take when you handle it.

Some materials are also supposed to have what are called “safety data sheets”.

A safety data sheet is a document that has information on the possible hazards of a chemical product and how to work safely with the product. Hazards could be related to:

  • toxic effects
  • fire
  • explosions
  • poisons
  • corrosion
  • environmental hazards
  • how the chemical reacts to other materials

If you didn't get WHMIS training when you started your work, or if you got training a long time ago, ask your employer or a health and safety representative or representative from your Joint Health and Safety Committee to hold a training session.

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