Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

The WHMIS and Occupational Safety

All occupations that handle hazardous materials are required by law (the Occupational Health and Safety Act) to receive WHMIS training. WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, a system that was created to keep hazardous occupations safe for its workers. This system is enforced all over Canada by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, with the WHMIS training program being regulated provincially.


The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System is composed of three main concepts: (1) Labeling, (2) Information Sheets, and (3) Training. Labeling is accomplished through use of conspicuous symbols on containers, identifying the contents as well as its potential hazards. Information sheets accompany the HAZMAT, in the possession of the handler or worker. The last component is training, which is required of the business or employer.

Acccording to the Occupation Health and Safety Act, all business that handle hazardous materials are required to train its staff members in an official WHMIS course. Volunteers are not included, but it is highly encouraged that they receive in-house WHMIS training.

Lethbridge First Aid

Lethbridge First Aid offers students quality WHMIS training. Classroom and online courses are available monthly, priced at 49.99 and 29.99 dollars each respectively. WHMIS training teaches students about controlled substances in Canada, hazards associated with them, and emergency management should the hazard occur.

The classroom course on WHMIS lasts four hours, with six units total. The online course runs a little shorter, three hours, with six modules or sessions. After each module, there is a test that the trainee needs to pass before he or she can proceed to the next module.

WHMIS Certificate

To receive your training certificate, finish the WHMIS course with complete attendance. There is a certification exam at the end of training that the student must pass to get certified. WHMIS credentials do not expire nor do trainees have take refreshers every few years. If you want to get an update, you can sign up for the classroom course and opt out of the examinations.

Getting started on training: The Supplier Label

In WHMIS, all controlled products nedd to have a supplier label on the container. It should be conspicuously sized and positioned, and have seven key pieces of information on it.

  1. Product name – chemical, common, generic or trade name of the substance. If it’s name is a trade secret, the name can be a code or reference number.
  2. Supplier name
  3. Reference to the safety data sheet, documentation that contains additional information on the product. (e.g. “See Material Safety Data Sheet”)
  4. Hazard symbol/s according to the products WHMIS class
  5. Risk phrases that describe the hazardous properties of the product. (e.g. “explosive when dry”)
  6. Precautionary measures for the handler (e.g. “face protection worn at all times”)
  7. First aid in case of exposure

Note: For products that are less than 100 ml, the label can contain only the first four on the list.

To learn more about WHMIS, sign up for a Lethbridge First Aid training program today.