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WHMIS Procedure


The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) was developed to provide employers and employees with health and safety information about hazardous materials being used in their workplace. The basic components of this information delivery system are:

  1. labels and other product identifiers
  2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)
  3. employee education programs

The Occupational Health and Safety Act and WHMIS Regulation (Reg. 860) are two pieces of provincial legislation that establish specific duties and responsibilities that must be complied with whenever a hazardous material, or controlled product, is used, handled or stored in the workplace. Federal legislation establishes duties for suppliers of controlled products.

Date of Document: June 2006, Revised April 2012


The objectives of this procedure are to:

  1. set out the responsibilities for various groups within Humber to ensure that Humber is in compliance with legislated WHMIS requirements, and
  2. reduce the incidence of injury and accidents associated with chemical use and storage.

Applicable Legislation:

Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O., 1990, Chapter 0.1 as amended Regulation for Industrial Establishments, R.R.O., 1990, Reg. 851 as amended WHMIS Regulation, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 860, as amended


This procedure applies to all hazardous materials used, handled or stored in Humber, or used in Humber related activities, and to all Humber employees, students, contractors and clients.


A number of definitions are provided in the Appendix. Note that for the purpose of this procedure, “hazardous material” and “controlled product” are synonymous.


Purchasing Hazardous Materials

  1. To reduce the risks associated with the storage of surplus and outdated products, purchases of hazardous materials should be limited to the smallest quantities feasible.
  2. Whenever possible, a less hazardous product should be substituted for a more hazardous one. Department Heads should conduct an assessment to ensure that the substituted product is in fact less hazardous and does not create any new hazards. Assistance may be obtained from Occupational Health & Safety Services.
  3. Gifts and donations of hazardous materials are prohibited.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

  1. Department Heads, or their designates, must ensure that current MSDSs have been obtained for all WHMIS-controlled products. A MSDS must be obtained from the supplier on or before the first shipment of that product. To be current a MSDS must be dated within the last three years.
    Whenever possible current MSDSs should be obtained for products that are not WHMIS controlled but are chemically based. For example, it is often possible to obtain MSDSs for Consumer Products and products regulated under the Pest Control Products Act. This information is important because many of these products can also present potential health, safety and fire hazards. (Refer to Appendix B for more information.)
  2. Department Heads, or their designates, must ensure that MSDSs are readily accessible to employees and students who may be required to use, handle or store hazardous materials in their work/learning area. Area-specific WHMIS booklets/binders, containing inventory and MSDS information, must be located in a visible location within the work area.
    Employees and students must know where the WHMIS booklet/binder, containing inventory and MSDS information, is located in their work/learning area and report any missing MSDSs to their manager/supervisor.
  3. Department Heads responsible for managing a service contract, must ensure that if a contractor/client brings hazardous materials into the work/learning area, the contractor/ client provides MSDSs for those products prior to use. If the contractor/client is required to work with on near any hazardous material at Humber, the contractor/client is to be provided with MSDSs for those products.
  4. Occupational Health & Safety Services must be provided with a copy of every MSDS obtained. Whenever a new product is introduced into a work/learning area, a copy of the MSDS must be promptly forwarded to Occupational Health & Safety Services, either electronically or by hard copy.


Department heads must ensure that the following requirements related to WHMIS labelling are met:

  1. Every container of hazardous material received at Humber must have a WHMIS supplier label. Employees should report missing or illegible labels to their manager/supervisor. (Refer to Appendix C for an example of a Supplier Label.)
    It should be noted that there are special applications for hazardous materials that come from laboratory supply houses for use in laboratories. (Refer to Appendix C.)
  2. In some cases it is permissible to use a workplace label instead of a supplier label. Workplace labels are to be affixed to containers of hazardous materials under the following conditions: the original supplier label has become illegible or is missing the hazardous material is produced in the workplace for use in the workplace the material is being stored in a bulk storage container and a supplier label has not been provided; and a hazardous material is transferred from the original container to another container. Note: If a non-WHMIS controlled product is transferred from the original container, the second container must also be identified with a workplace label. However, the label would not make reference to a MSDS if an MSDS is not available for that product. (Refer to Appendix D for an example of a Workplace Label.)
  3. Supplier labels, workplace labels or other product identifiers must not be removed or defaced while any of the hazardous material remains in the container.
  4. If a container is found without a label and the identification of the material is unknown, Occupational Health & Safety Services should be contacted to arrange for proper disposal of the material through Humber’s Hazardous Waste Disposal program.

Hazardous Materials Inventory

Department Heads must ensure that area-specific inventories are updated and submitted to Occupational Health & Safety Services on an annual basis. Occupational Health & Safety Services will send out a written request to initiate this process each year. The “Hazardous Materials Inventory Form” should be used to record new inventory information.

Education and Training

  1. Department Heads must ensure that managers/supervisors of direct handlers have received training in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and WHMIS legislation. For information regarding future training sessions, contact Occupational Health & Safety Services.
  2. Department Heads must ensure that direct handlers of WHMIS controlled products complete the “WHMIS for Humber Employees” Blackboard course. Course registration is to be arranged through Occupational Health & Safety Services.
  3. Department Heads must ensure safe work practices have been developed and implemented, as appropriate, for hazardous materials used, handled or stored in their work/learning areas and that employees/students have been trained in the safe work practices.

Safe Use, Handling and Storage of Hazardous Materials

  1. Employees/students are expected to follow the safe work practices set out by their manager/supervisor.
  2. All materials must be properly stored and incompatible materials appropriately segregated. For example, flammable materials are to be stored in ULC approved flammable storage cabinets.
  3. Department Heads must ensure engineering controls, personal protective equipment and emergency equipment, adequate for the hazardous materials and processes within the work/learning area, are in place and maintained in good working order. An assessment should be conducted to determine the adequacy of engineering controls and the need for personal protective equipment. Assistance may be obtained from Facilities Management and Occupational Health & Safety Services.
  4. Employees/students must wear or use the personal protective equipment or devices required by Regulation, by Humber or departmental procedures, or as specified by their manager/ supervisor. Any defects in personal protective equipment or problems with control equipment such as local ventilation (exhaust) systems are to be reported to the respective manager/supervisor for corrective action.

Emergency Procedures

  1. Department Heads must ensure that, if required, emergency equipment such as eye wash stations and emergency showers are present, maintained in good working order and accessible. Employees and students in the area must be advised of their location and proper use.
  2. All hazardous material spills must be dealt with immediately. Follow Humber’s Hazardous Materials Spill Procedure.
  3. Employees/students must report any accidental overexposure (eg. splash on skin, into eyes, ingestion, inhalation) to a chemical product immediately to their manager/supervisor. Individuals must also report to Humber’s Health Centre for first aid, or medical assistance, and documentation of the incident.

If it is an emergency, contact Public Safety:

Location Number
North Campus Ext. 4000
Residence: North Ext. 77000
Lakeshore Campus Ext. 4000
Residence: Lakeshore Ext. 73000
Direct Line: All Locations 416-675-8500 
Emergency Services [9]-911

If time permits, take a copy of the MSDS for the product to the Health Centre or outside medical care provider. Otherwise, as long as the product has been identified and is on a Humber inventory list, Security can assist with obtaining the required MSDS and forwarding it to the Health Centre or health care provider.

Hazardous Waste

  1. Department Heads must ensure all hazardous waste is clearly identified and that employees and students have been instructed or trained in its safe handling and storage.
  2. Contact Occupational Health & Safety Services to arrange for the disposal of hazardous waste and outdated or surplus products through Humber’s Hazardous Waste Disposal procedure. The disposal of all hazardous waste must be coordinated through Occupational Health & Safety Services to ensure that the waste is properly registered with the Ministry of the Environment.

Occupational Health & Safety Services is responsible for:

  1. Maintaining a consolidated set of MSDSs for all hazardous materials used, handled or stored in Humber, or used in Humber related activities, by compiling MSDSs received from individual schools/departments within Humber.
  2. Coordinating the process by which individual schools/departments update area-specific inventories and using the information received to maintain a consolidated inventory of hazardous materials for Humber. This will be done on an annual basis.
  3. Providing copies of MSDSs and the Humber’s hazardous materials inventory to the local Medical Officer of Health, the Fire Department or a Director of the Ministry of Labour if so requested.
  4. Providing Humber’s Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee with access to the consolidated set of MSDSs for hazardous materials in a manner agreed to by the Committee.
  5. Developing and implementing WHMIS training programs, including the administration of the “WHMIS for Humber Employees” Blackboard course and participating in the annual review of WHMIS education and training programs.
  6. Coordinating a review of this procedure on an annual basis and updating it as required.
  7. Assisting with the assessment of spill control equipment needs within a school/department and organizing the delivery of spill response training upon request.
  8. Assisting with emergency response to hazardous materials spills in keeping with the Humber’s Hazardous Materials Spill Procedure.
  9. Coordinating the disposal of hazardous waste and outdated or surplus products in keeping with the Humber’s Hazardous Waste Disposal Procedure.

Humber’s JOHSC shall:

  1. Be made aware of the process for the preparation and maintenance of the hazardous materials inventory for Humber and be provided access to the most recent set of consolidated MSDSs for Humber.
  2. Be consulted about and participate in the development of Humber’s WHMIS program and WHMIS training. Participate in the annual review of WHMIS training at Humber.
  3. Bring concerns regarding WHMIS to the attention of Humber administration and make recommendations to resolve health and safety concerns associated with WHMIS.

Through the purchasing process, requisitioners of contracted services are required to ensure that contractors and clients of Humber:

  1. Comply with all requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations and Humber’s WHMIS program.
  2. Provide MSDSs for all controlled products brought into Humber prior to use.
  3. Ensure all controlled products are properly identified with supplier or workplace labels or other WHMIS identifiers as required.
  4. Be familiar with and adhere to Humber’s emergency procedures


Federal WHMIS legislation does not apply to the sale or importation of:

  1. an explosive within the meaning of the Explosives Act
  2. a cosmetic, device, drug or Food within the meaning of the Food and Drugs Act
  3. a control product within the meaning of the Pest Control Products Act
  4. a prescribed substance within the meaning of the Atomic Energy Control Act
  5. a product, material or substance packaged as a consumer product and in quantities normally used by the consuming public or
  6. is wood or a product made of wood
  7. is tobacco or a product made of tobacco
  8. is a manufactured article, or
  9. is being transported or handled in accordance with the Dangerous Goods Act

This means that suppliers/manufacturers of these products do not have to provide WHMIS labels or MSDSs.

Employers, therefore, do not have to ensure that supplier WHMIS labels and MSDSs are obtained.

However, for products a through e, other requirements of the Provincial WHMIS legislation, such as providing workplace labels for decanted products and worker education are still in effect.

A WHMIS supplier label must have the distinctive hatch-marked border and provide the information in both English and French.

There are seven items of information that must be on a supplier label:

  1. Name of the product.
  2. Risk phrases.
  3. Name of the supplier.
  4. Precautionary measures.
  5. Reference to a MSDS.
  6. First Aid measures.
  7. Hazard symbol(s).

Note: If the container of the controlled product is 100 ml or less, only the first four items must be included.

A full supplier label is not required on a controlled product that meets the following three criteria:

  1. the product comes from a laboratory supply house,
  2. the product is intended for use in a laboratory, and
  3. individual containers of the product hold less than 10 kilograms

In this case, the label does not require a border, hazard symbols or a supplier identifier.

Consumer Product

Consumer product the product is packaged in a container that is available for sale to the general public and the container meets the labelling requirements for consumer products under the Hazardous Products Act.

Controlled Product

Controlled product is any product, material or substance that can be included in any of the following 6 classes:

  • Class A Compressed Gas
  • Class B Flammable and Combustible Material
    • Div. 1 Flammable Gases
    • Div. 2 Flammable Liquids
    • Div. 3 Combustible Liquids
    • Div. 4 Flammable Solids
    • Div. 5 Flammable Aerosols
    • Div. 6 Reactive Flammable Materials
  • Class C Oxidizing Material
  • Class D Poisonous and Infectious Material
    • Div. 1 Materials Causing Immediate and Serious Toxic Effects
    • Div. 2 Materials Causing Other Toxic Effects
  • Class E Corrosive Material
  • Class F Dangerously Reactive Material

Hazardous material

Every controlled product is designated as a hazardous material (Reg. 860 (2))

Supplier with reference to the federal legislation

Supplier is one who manufactures, processes, packages, sells or imports a controlled product/hazardous material for use in a Canadian workplace.