Act First Safety

Understanding the New WHMIS 2015 Pictograms

The WHMIS 2015 legislation is currently ‘in force’, meaning that suppliers have already begun to use and follow the new requirements for labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) for hazardous products sold, distributed, or imported into Canada.

Although under WHMIS legislation, employers have until December 1, 2018 to transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015, if their workers are handling, storing, transporting or disposing products labelled under both systems, these workers and their supervisors must be trained in both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 with GHS.

Act First Safety provides a blended training program that seamlessly covers both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 with GHS.  One of the most significant changes in the new Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS 2015) is a switch to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of chemicals that uses pictograms instead of symbols on supplier labels and safety data sheets.  Pictograms are graphic images that immediately show the user of a hazardous product what type of hazard is present. With a quick glance, a worker can see, for example, that the product is flammable, or if it might be a health hazard.  Most pictograms have a distinctive red “square set on one of its points” border. Inside this border is a symbol that represents the potential hazard (e.g. fire, health hazard, corrosive, etc.). Together, the symbol and the border are referred to as a pictogram. Pictograms are assigned to specific hazard classes or categories.


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