WHMIS 2015 Pictograms

The publication of the final Hazardous Products Regulation (HPR) by the Federal Government on February 11, 2015, commenced the alignment of Canada’s Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the UN’s internationally agreed-upon system, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

As a result, the original WHMIS (also known as WHMIS 1988) was updated and improved into a newer version that is called WHMIS 2015. In WHMIS 2015, the hazard symbols of WHMIS 1988 have been replaced by universally acknowledged pictograms.

What Are WHMIS 2015 Pictograms?

WHMIS 2015 pictograms are simple graphic images that vividly highlight the types of hazards present in various hazardous products. The standardized pictograms act as visual easy-to-understand tools for helping workers to immediately identify the types of hazards present in various hazardous products and to handle the products according to prescribed safety measures. A quick glance at a pictogram, such as flammable, corrosive or health hazard, will alert the user of the hazardous product of the potential dangers and compel him/her to take the requisite precautions.

Except for the biohazardous infectious materials pictogram, all the WHMIS 2015 pictograms are made of a distinctive red “square-set-on-one-of-its-points” border and have the symbol representing the hazard associated with a product (such as corrosive, health hazard or fire) inside the border. Together, the border and the symbol are called a pictogram and are assigned to a specific hazard category or class.

What’s New About WHMIS 2015 pictograms?

  • While the WHMIS 1988 pictograms were denoted with symbols inside black “circled” borders, the WHMIS pictograms are denoted by symbols inside red “diamond” shaped borders
  • Some WHMIS 1988 symbols such as the “Exclamation T “(for Other Toxic Effects) and the “R” (for Dangerously Reactive) have been fully replaced and are non-existent in the new system
  • The red borders of WHMIS 2015 make the black symbols inside borders more prominent and visible to all users of hazardous products than the black borders with black symbols that are used in WHMIS 1988
  • New symbols such as the Exploding Bomb,