Globally Harmonized System (GHS)
What is the GHS?
The foundation for hazard classification and communication in WHMIS is changing with the incorporation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of chemicals.
The GHS format was developed by the United Nations and replaces WHMIS, which was established as Canada’s right-to-know hazard communication standard in 1988.
WHMIS was modified in February 2015 as the result of the GHS implementation. WHMIS 2015 made amendments to appropriate occupational health and safety legislation and/or regulations in each federal, provincial and territorial jurisdiction.
WHMIS 2015 aligns Canada's workplace chemical hazard communication with the United States and also with Canada’s other international trading partners who have adopted the GHS.
When does the GHS come into full effect?
In order to allow adequate time for suppliers, employers and workers to adjust to the new system, WHMIS 2015 implementation will take place gradually over a three-stage transition period that is synchronized nationally across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, and will be in full effect by December 1, 2018.
The goal is that the same set of rules for classifying hazards, and the same format and content for labels and safety data sheets (SDS) will be adopted and used around the world.
GHS defines and classifies the hazards of chemical products, and communicates health and safety information on easy to understand labels and safety data sheets, and allows Canada to conform to international standards on the classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals.
Health Canada is the government body responsible for making the required changes to the overall federal WHMIS-related laws.
If you wish to obtain copies of these handy pocket-sized cards and/or posters for your workplace, please contact your local union office or the UFCW Canada national office at 416-675-1104.
Registration for the webCampus "Globally Harmonized System" course is now open. To register for this free online course, and to find out more about the webCampus program, visit the webCampus website.