Everyone has a part in providing safety. The same basics are for everyone.
What is WHMIS?
WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
Chemical producers should provide information concerning product on a MSDS Sheet – Material Safety Data Sheet. This is an important standardized form of communication. Containers should be labelled.
Everyone should be trained to know about chemicals, an understanding of controlling hazards – when chemical should be stored and used properly and when they won’t be dangerous, and what should be done in a hazard.
Companies must provide/ensure training to all employees handling hazardous materials, a list of hazardous materials in the workplace, and MSDS sheets for all hazardous materials.
There are 6 classes of hazards. Poisonous materials have a further 3 divisions.
- Compressed gases
- Oxidizing material
- Poisonous and infectious material
- Immediate and serious toxic effects
- Other toxic effects
- Dangerous reactive
Broader categories can be classified under FACTOR
Create physical hazard or health hazard. Some can be immediately dangerous. Physical hazards affects the atmosphere and health hazards are toxic, directly affecting workers’ health.
Smoking is a health hazard.
What chemicals present physical hazards? Flammable, some corrosives. If stored incorrectly or mixed, they can be dangerous.
Safe works hazard practice
Hazards can be controlled. Know what can – and cannot – be mixed. Safe work practice for all chemicals:
- Wear proper eye protection.
- Follow specific storage procedures.
- Know where to find equipment.
Practices followed when working with any chemical:
- Know what to do when there is an accident
- Know location of nearest safety equipment
- Know how to use safety equipment
- Understand chemical hazards
- Understand hazard controls
Some toxics give off more exposure than others, and some can be more quick or more slow to work. Not all chemicals pose health hazards. Under normal circumstances there should be no problems.
Effect: high level exposure over short period of time.
Acute: large short, chronic small long. Equal effects toxic exposure invisible e.g., dust, gas. MSDS will alert you to toxic.
Where can chemicals enter the body?
- Via eyes, absorbed through the skin, swallowed via the mouth, inhaled through the nose
Levels tolerate with harm, average person exposure based on a 5-day, 8-hour work week. Safe dose is the length of higher tolerance longer lasting. If working with a higher, safer chemical, reduce either the time exposed to the chemical or the amount of chemical used.
A chemical is only referred to as toxic if it can cause harm to one or more body organs.
Long period of time – chronic health effect. After working there, something can be short and acute.
Chemicals and toxic materials can be relatively invisible consisting of dust, fumes, gases, vapor and mists.
Exposure to material requires clean hands before eating and smoking, as the primary entry route is probably likely to be via ingestion.
Safe dose refers to how much of a chemical a body can tolerate.
Reactions to a new chemical, such as a skin rash or other acute symptoms, appear immediately.
We should recognize the hazards and know what precautions to take.
Company engineers to make the work place safer by any means, e.g., enclosing pipes, administer safety protocols, set and use safety procedures, provide equipment and safety materials, i.e. face masks and respirators. Workers should wear equipment when they need to, as these items can be the only thing between themselves and hazardous materials.
Employees should know hazards. They should pay attention to their training. Reading labels is important as they can say a lot of information. WHMIS’ distinctive border gives a warning sign and a lot of information about health and safety.
Most WHMIS labels provide 7 pieces of information. These are important to know as they are key to knowing hazards. Some labels can differ. These are:
- Product identifier
- Supplier identifier
- Statement MSDS is available
- Hazard symbol(s)
- Risk phrase(s)
- Precautionary measures
- First aid materials
Labels should be written in both English and French.
Workplace labels for materials made at – or moved from – the workplace should identify the name of the material, provide instructions to use material, and say ‘see MSDS sheet for more information’
Employer may include only 8 hazard symbols:
Flammable and combustible materials
Poisonous and infectious materials causing immediate and serious toxic effects
Poisonous and infectious materials causing other toxic effects
Bio hazardous infectious
Dangerously reactive material
Labelling tells you where to go and to see MSDS for more information. Tells you
a) what it is, and where it came from,
b) hazardous ingredients and potential hazards,
c) physical data, what’s in
d) fire and explosion hazards,
e) reactivity data and what to avoid,
f) TLV to recognize signs,
g) preventive measures,
h) first aid measures,
i) name/number/date provided
If you see something that looks dangerous, advise supervisor immediately.
Product information Storage procedures
Physical data Colour, odor, appearance
Health hazards/toxicological properties
Health effects from overexposure
First aid measures
MSDS are anything to look at, they all have the same basic information and follow the same format. They don’t all look the same.
What provides workplace hazard controls?
Workplace ventilation controls
Hazardous materials time limit
Vapor/dust amount in air limited
Personal protective equipment
Supplier labels must accompany hazardous materials with border.
What is included in all MSDS?
- First aid procedures
- Storage procedures
- Product’s flash point
- Entry route
- Overexposure signs