The GHS-aligned WHMIS 2015 came into force in February 2015, ushering in the period of transition from WHMIS 1988. Designed to improve the health and safety of workers, WHMIS 2015 ensures that employers and their employees are sufficiently informed of the hazards associated with various chemicals and substances that they work with or may come in contact with in the workplace. The most fundamental elements of WHMIS 2015 are proper labeling of chemical containers, provision of safety data sheets and worker education and training, all of which ensure that workers are better prepared to handle hazardous chemicals safely.
Since workers will most likely be handling products that follow both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 requirements during the transition period, it’s essential that they be educated and trained on both systems until the transition period is over. In fact, employers are allowed to use both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 classified and labeled hazardous products during the transition period as long as they have observed all the education and training requirements and have ensured that the label information on the products match the information on the safety data sheets.