Frequently construction trades are required to work with or handle hazardous products. Proper handling requires careful planning, training, and use of personal protective equipment or controls.
Some hazardous products common in construction are:
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHIMIS) is a system for providing health and safety information on the safe use of hazardous products in Canadian workplaces. WHMIS gives everyone the right to know about the hazards of products they work with and provides the means to find out that information. It does this through:
In 2015, WHMIS was aligned with the worldwide hazard communication system known as GHS – the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The terms WHMIS 1988 (for original WHMIS) and WHMIS 2015 are used when referring to the old and new systems.
The roles and responsibilities for suppliers, employers and workers remain essentially unchanged in WHMIS 2015 from WHMIS 1988.
WHMIS legislation requires that products used in the workplace that meet the criteria of “hazardous products” for WHMIS 2015 must be labelled (these are called “controlled products” under WHMIS 1988). In most cases, suppliers are responsible for labelling the hazardous products that they provide to customers. Employers must ensure that hazardous products that come into the workplace are labelled. They are also responsible for preparing and applying a workplace label, when appropriate.
According to the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada) labels should have
Supplier labels must be available in English and French. They may be bilingual (as one label), or available as two labels (one each in English and French).
Another type of WHMIS label is the workplace label. The workplace label is produced by the employer for use in the employer’s workplace only and contains the following elements:
A workplace label is required when:
A workplace label is not required when the hazardous product is “Under the control of the person who decanted it", the hazardous product is used only during the shift in which the portable container was filled, and the contents of the portable container are identified. The other circumstance where a workplace label is not required is if the hazardous product is going to be used immediately, and if the product is not used right away, or if more than one person will be in control of the product, a full workplace label is required.
Special labelling requirements exist for laboratory samples of a hazardous product.
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are documents that provide information about a product's hazards and safety precautions. SDSs are usually written by the product's manufacturer or supplier. In some circumstances, an employer may be required to prepare an SDS (for example, when the product is produced and used exclusively in that workplace). Every product that is classified as a “hazardous product” under WHMIS that is intended for use, handling, or storage in a workplace in Canada must have an SDS.
If a product produced in the workplace is a hazardous product, the employer is responsible for creating an SDS except where the hazardous product is a laboratory sample.
In WHMIS 2015, every SDS must provide a date of last revision. SDSs are required to be accurate at the time of sale. An SDS must be updated by the employer as soon as practicable after significant new data about the hazardous product becomes available to the employer.
Employers must instruct workers who work with or who may be exposed in the course of their work to a hazardous product in the following:
Education and training must be related to a workplace’s larger health and safety program and any other health and safety education or training. Employers must ensure that any education and training, and programs dealing with hazardous products are effective and that workers are able to work safely around potentially hazardous products.
A more detailed and comprehensive overview of WHMIS and its requirements can be found at WHMIS.org, Canada’s National WHMIS Portal.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1
Part IV TOXIC SUBSTANCES
Section 42 Instruction and training
42. (1) In addition to providing information and instruction to a worker as required by clause 25(2)(a), an employer shall ensure that a worker exposed or likely to be exposed to a hazardous material or to a hazardous physical agent receives, and that the worker participates in, such instruction and training as may be prescribed.
(2) The instruction and training to be given under subsection (1) shall be developed and implemented by the employer in consultation with the committee or health and safety representative, if any, for the workplace.
(3) An employer shall review, in consultation with the committee or health and safety representative, if any, for the workplace, the training and instruction provided to a worker and the worker's familiarity therewith at least annually.
(4) The review described in subsection (3) shall be held more frequently than annually, if,
(a) the employer, on the advice of the committee or health and safety representative, if any, for the workplace, determines that such reviews are necessary; or
(b) there is a change in circumstances that may affect the health or safety of a worker.
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Regulation
RRO 1990, Reg. 860
7. (1) An employer shall ensure that every worker who works with or who may be exposed in the course of his or her work to a hazardous product is instructed in,
(a) the contents required on a supplier label and workplace label, and the purpose and significance of the information contained on the labels;
(b) the contents required on a safety data sheet and the purpose and significance of the information contained on a safety data sheet;
(c) procedures for the safe use, storage, handling and disposal of a hazardous product;
(d) procedures for the safe use, storage, handling and disposal of a hazardous product when it is contained or transferred in,
(i) a pipe,
(ii) a piping system including valves,
(iii) a process vessel,
(iv) a reaction vessel, or
(v) a tank car, a tank truck, an ore car, a conveyor belt or a similar conveyance;
(e) procedures to be followed when fugitive emissions are present; and
(f) procedures to be followed in case of an emergency involving a hazardous product.
(2) An employer shall ensure that the program of worker education required by subsection (1) is developed and implemented for the employer's workplace and is related to any other training, instruction and prevention programs at the workplace.
(3) An employer shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the program of worker instruction required by subsection (1) results in the workers being able to use the information to protect their health and safety.
[O. Reg. 168/16, s. 7]
Section 8 Supplier labels
8. (1) An employer shall ensure that every hazardous product not in a container, and every container of a hazardous product, received at a workplace from a supplier is labelled with a supplier label.
(2) No employer shall alter a supplier label on a container in which a hazardous product is received from a supplier while any of the hazardous product remains in the container.
(3) If a label applied to a hazardous product or a container of a hazardous product becomes illegible or is removed, an employer shall replace the label with either a supplier label or a workplace label.
(4) Despite subsections (2) and (3), a supplier label may be removed from a container with a capacity of 3 mL or less if the label interferes with the normal use of the hazardous product.
(5) If an employer receives significant new data from a supplier about a hazardous product, the employer shall, as soon as practicable, attach to every relevant supplier label required under this section, new information that reflects the significant new data.
(6) An employer who imports and receives, under the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada), a hazardous product for use in the employer’s own workplace, without a supplier label or with a supplier label that does not meet all the labelling requirements of the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada), shall affix to the product a label that meets the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada) labelling requirements for that hazardous product.
(7) An employer who receives at a workplace an unpackaged hazardous product without a supplier label or a hazardous product transported as a bulk shipment without a supplier label, shall affix to the product a label that meets the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada) labelling requirements for that hazardous product.
[O. Reg. 168/16, s. 8]
Section 9 Workplace labels for employer-produced products
9. (1) An employer who produces a hazardous product in a workplace shall ensure that the hazardous product or the container of the hazardous product has a workplace label.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply when the hazardous product is in a container that is intended to contain it for sale or disposition and the container is, or is about to be, appropriately labelled.
(3) An employer shall update a workplace label referred to in subsection (1) as soon as practicable after significant new data about the product becomes available to the employer.
[O. Reg. 168/16, s. 9]
Section 10 Workplace labels for decanted products
10. (1) If a hazardous product that an employer receives in a container from a supplier is transferred to another container, the employer shall ensure that the other container has a workplace label.
(2) No supplier label or workplace label is required on a portable container that is filled directly from a container of a hazardous product with a supplier label or workplace label,
(i) the hazardous product is under the control of and is used exclusively by the worker who filled the portable container,
(ii) the hazardous product is used only during the shift in which the portable container was filled, and
(iii) the contents of the portable container are clearly identified; or
(b) if all of the hazardous product in the portable container is required for immediate use.
Section 14 Laboratory samples
14. (1) No supplier label is required on a laboratory sample of a hazardous product if,
(a) the laboratory sample is exempt from labelling requirements under subsection 5 (5) or (6) of the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada); and
(b) the supplier provides a label that is affixed to a container of the hazardous product and that discloses the information described in subsection (2).
(2) A label referred to in clause (1) (b) shall disclose the following information about the hazardous product:
1. The chemical name or generic chemical name, if known to the supplier, of every material or substance in the hazardous product where,
i. individually, the material or substance is classified in accordance with the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada) in a category or subcategory of a hazard class listed in Schedule 2 to the Hazardous Products Act (Canada) and is present above the relevant concentration limit, and
ii. in a mixture, the material or substance is present at a concentration that results in the mixture being classified in a category or subcategory of a hazard class.
2. The statement "Hazardous Laboratory Sample, for hazard information or in an emergency call/Échantillon pour laboratoire de produit dangereux. Pour obtenir des renseignements sur les dangers ou en cas d’urgence, composez insert the number described in paragraph 3".
3. An emergency telephone number for the purposes of obtaining the information that must be provided on the safety data sheet for the hazardous product.
[O. Reg. 168/16, s. 10]
17. (1) An employer who receives a hazardous product from a supplier for use, storage or handling at a workplace shall obtain a supplier safety data sheet for the hazardous product from the supplier unless the supplier is exempted under the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada) from providing a safety data sheet for the hazardous product.
(2) An employer shall update a supplier safety data sheet obtained under subsection (1) as soon as practicable after significant new data about the product is provided by the supplier or otherwise becomes available to the employer.
(3) An employer may provide a safety data sheet in a different format from that of the supplier safety data sheet for the hazardous product or containing additional hazard information if,
(a) the safety data sheet provided by the employer, subject to subsection 40 (6) of the Act, contains no less content than the supplier safety data sheet; and
(b) the supplier safety data sheet is available at the workplace and the employer-provided safety data sheet indicates that fact.
[O. Reg. 168/16, s. 11]
18. (1) An employer who produces a hazardous product at a workplace shall prepare a safety data sheet for the product that complies with the requirements of the Hazardous Products Regulations (Canada) for a safety data sheet.
(2) No safety data sheet is required for a hazardous product that is a laboratory sample produced by the employer at the workplace.
(3) An employer shall update a safety data sheet referred to in subsection (1) as soon as practicable but not later than 90 days after significant new data about the hazardous product becomes available to the employer.
[O. Reg. 168/16, s. 12]
Confidential Business Information