Important WHMIS Training Information

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is a health and safety system through which employers and employees can easily see and understand important health and safety information regarding the hazardous materials they handle. According to the National WHMIS Compliance Policy (from January, 2002), the "key elements of WHMIS are cautionary labelling, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and worker education and training programs."

In short, the purpose of WHMIS is to increase workplace health and safety. Compliance, for employers (as opposed to suppliers), with WHMIS standards has two important facets: workplace labels and employee education and WHMIS training. WHMIS training is required annually in some industries, and bi-annually in others.

Every company is required to examine their WHMIS compliance each and every year. You do not necessarily need to retrain every employee every year, but it is recommended. An employer is required to:

"...ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the instruction and training provided to a worker results in the worker being able to apply the information as needed to protect the worker's health and safety."

Do You or Your Employees Need WHMIS Training?

pic_group_meetingDepending on the nature of the environment and industry in which you work, you may or may not require WHMIS training. For example, in Canada, every school board employee, every hospital employee, and the majority of employees at manufacturing plants are required by law to complete WHMIS training.

WHMIS training is required if you come into contact with hazardous materials or controlled products at work. If you are an employee reading this, and you think you might require WHMIS training but you do not yet have it, you should speak with your employer about getting WHMIS training and certification.

The responsibility for WHMIS training lies with employers. Each employer is responsible to make sure that all of his or her employees have been properly trained. It is up to the employer's discretion as to how to train his or her staff.

Getting Proper WHMIS Training

Often, WHMIS training is done in a classroom setting. This can be convenient because everyone is trained at once. However, there can be issues with this type of WHMIS training. For example, when reporting your proof of training to the federal government, stating that 100 employees took their WHMIS training on such and such a date is not enough prove that the right employees are WHMIS trained. You would need something like a sign-in sheet to prove exactly which employees took the training and when. And what happens if an employee is sick during the classroom WHMIS training? It wouldn't be cost-effective to bring in an instructor to make up for a single employee.

One of the advantages of online WHMIS training is that it allows easy reporting and tracking of every employee who takes the training. As well, online WHMIS training courses are convenient because employees can take the training individually, either at home or at work. When WHMIS training is taken online, there's no need to worry about finding a time when all employees are free to take the training course. Our courses are also designed so that you can log in and out to complete the training over multiple sessions. Our program keeps track of your progress so you don't have to retake parts that you have already covered.

This government website has good information on Assessing Education and WHMIS Training Programs.

RLS Group's games-based online WHMIS training is a fun, interactive way for workers to learn everything they need know about WHMIS.


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  • RLS Group can create custom online training to meet any government certification requirements, internal business procedures/protocols or work safety training standards. Visit our online WHMIS training page to see what we can build for you. Even our existing online training courses can be customized to suit your business.