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March 26, 2015

Final version of new Hazardous Products Regulations Introduce new Global Harmonized System (GHS) to Canada

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New Hazardous Products Regulations, pursuant to the Hazardous Products Act, were published in the February 11, 2015 edition of Canada Gazette Part II. The new regulations update the current Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to introduce the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The incorporation of the GHS into WHMIS will bring Canada’s system into line with the hazard communication standard most commonly used by Canada’s key trading partners -and, in particular, with that of the US, whose Hazard Communication Standard (2012) closely aligns with the GHS.

The regulatory changes affect the industries that sell and import workplace hazardous chemicals, the employers and workers who work with workplace hazardous chemicals, and the government bodies that regulate workplace hazardous chemicals.

CWWA has been following the development of these Regulations for quite some time. Impact to our members is expected to be minimal, as the most onerous changes in terms of new labelling practices and other requirements will be for chemical suppliers and importers. However, since our members do work with a wide array of chemicals they will need to update safety information and may need to provide some training to employees.

All suppliers and employers are expected to comply with HPR Requirements by December 1, 2018

Summary of changes to WHMIS

Classification Rules—WHMIS continues to apply to both physical hazards and health hazards groups. Some new classes are added to the classification criteria. Additional hazard classes required under physical hazards include combustible dusts, simple asphyxiants, pyrophoric gases and physical hazards not otherwise classified. New hazard
classes required under health hazards include biohazardous infectious materials and health hazards not otherwise classified. Each hazard class is assigned a category that describes the severity of the hazard.

Supplier Labels—Supplier labels are standardized to include product identifiers, initial supplier identifiers, pictograms, signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements and supplemental label information. The new WHMIS continues to require bilingual supplier labels.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)—The GHS-prescribed format for SDS includes 16 sections with specific information requirements. Sections include hazard identification, information on ingredients, first aid measures, accidental release measures, exposure controls, physical and chemical properties and toxicological information. 


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