WHMIS & MSDS
By Austin Culley
(WHMIS) Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System is a Canadian information system providing provisions for the safe use and handling of hazardous materials via product labeling, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and employee educational training programs.
WHMIS was created via the coordination of various federal and provincial authorities alongside industry and labor organizations to promote on-the-job safety and awareness for the Canadian Workforce. The Hazardous Products Act and Controlled Products Regulations are administered by the Canadian Department of Health, also known as Health Canada.
Exposure to hazardous materials can cause serious health risks when not handled or stored properly; therefore The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System has been required by law to be available in work environments where hazardous materials are present since 1988.
More information about WHMIS and other Occupational Health information can be found at the Health Canada Web Site.
For U.S. residents, the United States equivalent to Canada's WHMIS is the American Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).
(MSDS) Material Safety Data Sheet
A Material Safety Data Sheet is a document containing information about a hazardous product being used on a job site. This information includes but is not limited to the general properties, safety procedures for handling, and emergency first aid procedures for dealing with the product in the event of an accident.
Information about a specific product such as Hydrogen Sulfide for example, can be found very easily online by entering "Hydrogen Sulfide MDSD in any search on the Internet.
On the Job Safety and Awareness
On the job safety and awareness is the most important aspect of training; not only new employees, but also long-standing veterans in the field. Lives can be lost when complacency takes over the mindset of any professional out there. Stress the importance of maintaining constant attention to the practice of proper safety procedures.