WHMIS Labels: Does Your Business Need It?
WHMIS labels offer your workers a valuable tool to let them know if they are working with a controlled or hazardous substance. By law, information must be conveyed as to what the hazard is and whether the effects could occur immediately. For example, the label must state whether a chemical could oxidize or whether a container has compressed gases inside of it.
Why Use a Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System?
Although it is the law to identify hazardous materials within a contained environment, an employer should always let their workers know if they are around a hazardous material. Fortunately, doing so is as easy as putting a sticker on a drum, bottle or other container that may have a toxic or flammable material inside of it. For instance, a hazard class two sticker would let a worker know that they may be working with flammable or toxic gases.
Warning Labels Allow Workers to Perform Tasks Responsibly
If a worker didn't know that he or she was working with a corrosive material, that person could easily burn their skin. That material could even penetrate the skin and potentially cause damage to internal organs. With a warning label, a worker knows to wear gloves and make sure that any exposed skin is covered. Other hazard stickers let workers know if a solid material is combustible or could explode without warning. For instance, a hazard class four sticker conveys that information as well as whether or not a material is suitable for use when it gets wet.
What Happens When Labels Aren't Used?
You could open yourself up to lawsuits or other penalties if hazardous materials are not labeled with the proper WHMIS labels. For instance, a worker could sue for lost wages and medical bills if he or she was injured because your company didn't follow the law. The company could also be fined or otherwise cited for workplace violations that could result in the company being shut down until each one is fixed.
Who Handles Workplace Matters in Canada?
In the United States, OSHA is the regulatory body that regulates workplace safety, and Canadian workplace safety laws are often based on those regulations. However, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety is the body that will review complaints and clarify for employers what their responsibilities are. If you have any questions, it is usually better and less expensive to ask as opposed to waiting until something happens.
Does your business need hazardous material labels? If your workers handle anything that could be corrosive, flammable or toxic, the answer is yes. Should supplier labels become worn, do not hesitate to put your own labels on containers. Doing so ensures that no one gets hurt because of poor communication on a job site.