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The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is a system which identifies controlled products and their hazards and makes sure this information gets to Canadian workplaces.

WHMIS is “workers-right-to-know” legislation and it provides specific hazard information where controlled products are used. WHMIS 2015 has now been aligned with the Global Harmonized System which is an internationally consistent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information through labels and safety data sheets. This alignment has prompted changes to the supplier and workplaces labels, the pictograms and the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) sheet (formerly MSDS). The chart below highlights these changes.

Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

A complete inventory of all Safety Data Sheets (SDS) used at Brightshores will be kept in the Emergency Department of each site. As well, the complete inventory of all Safety Data Sheets are now stored electronically on an external website through the intranet.

  • To access a safety data sheet on the intranet:

  • On the intranet homepage click on “Reference” tab located on blue banner bar
  • Click on the MSDS Sheets tab then click the link to search SDS sheets
  • Once on the site select Brightshores Health System Custom Collection link and type the name of the sheet into the search box in the top left hand corner

Each department/unit will have an index of the SDS of the hazardous products used in their department.

If an employee is exposed to a hazardous material and further medical care is required, the worker should be accompanied to the Emergency department, making sure to take the SDS for the hazardous product.

 Suppliers must identify which of their products are hazardous. The information about their hazardous materials must be provided in the form of a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and a label.

In order for these chemicals to cause ill effects (toxic effects) they have to enter your body in three different ways:

  • you eat or drink them (ingestion)
  • you breathe them (inhalation)
  • they go through your skin (absorption)

Preventing or Limiting Entry to Your Body

Controlling the amount of exposure to chemicals can be done in three different ways:

  1. At the source: by substituting a less hazardous substance, or by changing the process to decrease amount of exposure a worker has
  2. Along the path between the chemical and the worker: by local exhausting of the chemical, good housekeeping and ventilation
  3. At the worker: by safe work practices, personal protective equipment, education and medical surveillance

Important Points:

  • The employees working in a department must be aware of the chemical products that they are working with or being exposed to.
  • The department specific orientation will cover the SDSs that an employee will be working with.
  • Employees must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when working with the chemical products.
  • Employees must know how to access the SDSs on the intranet.
  • If the employee has any questions about a product, they should ask their supervisor/manager or the Occupational Health & Safety department.

 Students, ask your Supervisor: 

  • What are the potential hazards on the job?
  • Do I get safety training?
  • What safety equipment do I need to do my job?
  • Do I need to wear personal protective equipment?
  • What do I do in case of fire or emergency?
  • How do I get First Aid if I am injured?
  • What are my responsibilities regarding the health and safety of myself and my co-workers?
  • If I notice something wrong, to whom should I report?


  1. WHMIS is part of the “workers right to know” legislation.
  2. Name the three identifiers on the Workplace labels.
  3. What ways can chemicals enter your body?
  4. What controls are used “along the path between the chemical and the worker” to prevent exposure to chemical?
  5. Label the following Pictograms:



1.______________        2.______________     3.______________


Answers to Quiz:  If you do not answer a question correctly, please review the material.

  1. True
  2. 1. Product Name 2.  Safe Handling Procedures  3.Reference to SDS
  3. Ingestion, Inhalation and Absorption
  4. By local exhausting of the chemical, good housekeeping and ventilation
  5. 1. Gas under pressure 2. Oxidizers 3. Acute Toxicity