Monday, May 14, 2018


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. 

Hazard classes 
There are 6 classes of hazards. Poisonous materials have a further 3 divisions. 
  1. Compressed gases 
  2. Flammable/combustible 
  3. Oxidizing material 
  4. Poisonous and infectious material 
    1. Immediate and serious toxic effects 
    2. Other toxic effects 
    3. Biohazard/infectious 
  5. Corrosives 
  6. Dangerous reactive 
Learn the hazards of each class to prevent and control. 
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: 

  1. Product identifier 
  2. Supplier identifier 
  3. Statement MSDS is available 
  4. Hazard symbol(s) 
  5. Risk phrase(s) 
  6. Precautionary measures
  7. 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: 

Compressed gas 

 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

 Corrosive material 

 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
Hazardous ingredients
Physical data Colour, odor, appearance
Fire/explosion data
Reactivity data
Health hazards/toxicological properties

Health effects from overexposure
Preventative measures
First aid measures
Preparation data 

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? 
Employee training
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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Bill C-45 now in effect for employee safety

Amendments to Canadian criminal law have come into effect (March 31, 2004) that holds corporations more accountable for workplace injuries and deaths. 
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Irwin Cotler said the legislation is important because it underscores the relationship between corporate liability and public safety, “and it says to employers that those who fail to provide safe workplaces may be dealt with severely through the criminal law.” 
In the Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, organizations can be held criminally liable by:
  • Criminal actions of senior officers who oversee day-to-day operations in addition to the acts of directors or executives
  • Officers with executive or operational authority, who become aware of offences being committed by other employees but, in order to benefit the organization, do not take action to stop them
  • The actions of those with authority and other employees, demonstrating a lack of care that constitutes criminal negligence 
These changes increase the maximum fine that can be imposed on an organization for a summary conviction to $100,000 from $25,000. 
There is no limit on fines for organizations that commit more serious offences. 
The term “organization” is defined as a variety of group structures, including a public body, a company or partnership. 
Bill C-45 imposes a legal duty on all those who direct work (including employers) to take reasonable measures to protect employee and public safety. Reckless disregard of this duty causing death or bodily harm could result in a charge of criminal negligence. 
The provisions of Bill C-45 stem from a House of Commons standing committee report on workplace safety and corporate liability. This review was prompted by the Westray mine disaster that killed 26 miners in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. 
More information on Bill C-45 is available on the Department of Justice website at: 
An online version of the legislation is available at

Monday, April 2, 2018

Consolidation regulations of Manitoba

W210 The Workplace Safety and Health Act
Title of Act/Regulation Consolidated Regulation Date
Administrative Penalty Regulation 89/2014 29 March 2014 
Operation of Mines Regulation 212/2011 24 December 2011
Workplace Safety and Health Regulation 217/2006 11 November 2006
147/2010 30 October 2010
107/2011 16 July 2011
165/2012 29 December 2012
90/2014 29 March 2014

Monday, March 26, 2018

Employing young workers

Tips for supervisors 
Remember your first few days on the job? 

How much did you know then? 

How much were you taught by your supervisor? 

Section 4.1 of Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSH Act) outlines your duties as a supervisor. The law says that you, as a supervisor must: 
  1. Ensure that all workers work in accordance with the provisions of the WSH Act and its Regulations. 
  2. Ensure that your workers use protective devices and wear the required personal protective equipment.
  3. Let your workers know about any potential or actual dangers in the workplace that you are aware of.
  4. Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers under your supervision. 
Did You Know? 
… that every year more than 7000 young workers aged 15-24 report injuries to the WCB (Source: Workers Compensation of Manitoba) 
… that young male workers are almost twice as likely to be injured on the job than any other group? 
… that young workers are often unable to recognize hazards? 
… that young workers tend not to ask questions because they want to make a good impression and look “smart”?
… that young workers are an asset to your workplace – with fresh eyes, new ideas and good questions to ask? 
… that, as a supervisor, you are legally responsible for your workers? 
… that Manitoba students are learning about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace? 
… that if you fail to comply with the WSH Act, you could be subject to prosecution? 

Here’s what you need to do… 

  • Spend more time explaining the job, providing training and supervising young and new workers.
  • Set and explain safety rules and ensure everyone follows them.
  • Ensure all hazards are explained and thorough job-specific safety training is provided before the work is assigned.
  • Explain the importance of prompt reporting of unsafe conditions and health and safety concerns. Ensure they know it is a priority for you and tell them how to report the hazard so you can act on it immediately.
  • Make yourself available to answer questions and provide advice 
  • Lead by example: wear required protective devices and always reinforce safety on the job 
  • Establish and maintain open lines of communication 

Are you a new supervisor? 
Get training in Manitoba’s safety and health legislation and in the hazards in your workplace. The WSH Act requires employers to appoint competent supervisors: knowledgeable about the work and hazards of the jobs they are supervising.

For general requirements or questions about workplace safety and health, you can call Client Services at (204) 945-3446 or visit the website at 

For more information about young workers go to 


Tips for supervisors 
Starting points… 
This list, though not comprehensive, outlines information you should cover with your young workers. 

  • Everyone is entitled to work in a healthy and safe work environment. 
  • Everyone has the responsibility to contribute to making and keeping the workplace safe.
  • Asking for help when they are unsure. 
  • Proper equipment operation including the mandatory use of guards and lock-out systems. 
  • Emergency procedures including the location of first aid, fire exits, extinguishers and eye wash stations. • How and when to use personal protective equipment. 
  • Your company’s health and safety rules. 
  • Correct lifting techniques. 
  • Good housekeeping practices.
    Training techniques: 
  • Because people learn differently, use a variety of training techniques with your young worker. 
  • Guide your young worker through resources for health and safety information. 
  • Schedule sufficient time in the appropriate learning environment. 
  • Be hands-on, evaluate their learning and give them feedback. 

Bright ideas

  • Host a new worker welcoming get together to celebrate their arrival.
  • Give a guided tour of the entire workplace. 
  • Introduce new young workers to key people in the organization. This may include the Health and Safety Manager, Health and Safety Committee members or Health and Safety representatives. 
  • Use articles and other information about workplace injuries and deaths that have occurred in other workplaces to reinforce the health and safety message. 
  • Continually reinforce the importance of health and safety. 
  • Put stickers on equipment warning young workers they shouldn’t use it without training or supervision. 
  • Pair up your young worker with an experienced, safety-conscious worker. 
  • Recognize safe work practices and if safety rules are not observed, find out why. 

Bottom line 

YOU have direct responsibility for the safety of your workers, but also a unique opportunity to be a role model for young workers just starting out. Be a part of creating tomorrow’s safe and healthy workforce.

To determine specific rights and obligations under the laws regulating workplace health and safety, the reader is directed to the provisions of the Workplace Safety and Health Act and the Regulations made under that statute.