Both Property & Facility Managers throughout Ontario have begun the process of updating their safety programs, with respect to WHMIS requirements.

Since 1988, WHMIS has been Canada’s hazard communication system for workplace chemicals. It is a national system implemented through interlocking federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations.

Property & Facility Managers are significantly impacted by the WHMIS regulation as both Commercial Building Operations staff, Residential Superintendents, and facility Cleaning staff must comply with this regulation as they are responsible for many hazardous materials found in almost all building’s such as; water treatment chemicals, diesel fuel, cleaning materials, detergents, oils, swimming pool chemicals, and most commonly – refrigerants.

Onsite building Security at your facility / building also have a requirement in the workplace, to be both familiar with the building hazards, and how to safely respond to building infrastructure failures, including spills, leaks and injured persons.  This is a requirement under both OHSA and the Ontario Fire Code, and allows for a safer workplace positively impacting public safety, and provides for a rapid transfer of emergency information used by the arriving Fire & Emergency Medical Services during building emergencies.

The Ontario government has recently amended the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the WHMIS Regulation (R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 860) made under the OHSA to adopt new, international standards that are part of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The above amendments affect various requirements governing labels and safety data sheets.

The new requirements in the OHSA and WHMIS Regulation come into effect July 1, 2016.

During the transition, employers must ensure workers are trained on both the old and new labels and safety data sheets for as long as both are present in the workplace.

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