WHMIS 2015 Safety Data Sheets

WHMIS 2015 Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) are summary documents containing information on the hazards posed by various products and providing instruction and advice on the necessary safety precautions. On February 11, 2015, Health Canada officially declared the new Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) and the revised Hazardous Products Act (HPA) as law in Canada, setting out a specific hazard classification criteria and aligning the previous WHMIS (old WHMIS) with the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals), which is used in the USA and other principal trading partners.

From MSDS to SDS

In the process, the original data sheets, the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) outlined in the original WHMIS have been updated and re-named Safety Data Sheets (SDS). And for clarity, the original WHMIS is now called WHMIS 1988 while the updated version is called WHMIS 2015. Requirements of WHMIS 2015 Safety Data Sheets are contained in Part 4 of the HPR (Hazardous Products Regulations) while the SDS format and related content for the 16-section SDS format is provided in Schedule 1. In the SDS, elements of the GHS have been integrated, resulting in new standardized Safety Data Sheet (SDS) requirements.

Similarities and Differences between MSDSs and SDSs

WHMIS 2015 replaces MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) with SDSs (Safety Data Sheets) to improve the classification of hazards, improve employer involvement in workplace safety, ensure safe handling of hazardous products and enhance emergency measures. Still, there are several similarities between the two types of sheets. For instance, they are both typically written by product manufacturers and suppliers, but may be prepared by employers whenever products are created and used exclusively in the workplace. Similarly, both forms contain hazard information and are more detailed than product labels.

Both types of documents are resources for workers and workplaces and help with identification of hazards and promoting precautionary measures when dealing with various products. The documents indicate the class of hazards each product is, ways of using the product safely, the dangers of not following safety recommendations, the signs and symptoms of exposure to the hazards and the steps to take in case of emergencie