In February 2015, the Government of Canada promulgated WHMIS 2015, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, and decreed that companies have until December 1, 2018, to fully implement the new system.
Not allowing any grass to grow under their feet, Pipeworx Ltd. has already nearly completed its WHMIS 2015 implementation, offering free training to all employees. The approximately 200 current Pipeworx employees will have completed their required WHMIS 2015 training by September 1 of this year, and as the company gears up for the busy winter season, when it typically peaks at about 500 employees, all new workers will trained in WHMIS 2015 upon hire.
Why the Rush to WHMIS 2015?
“The new system standardizes the classification and labeling of chemicals worldwide,” said Chad Wagner, Pipeworx Human Resources Manager. “This makes it much less confusing and dangerous for workers who need to understand the hazards of a chemical in order to work safely. It’s just a better, safer way of doing things for everyone.”
In addition, he said, Pipeworx management talked with some of the company’s largest clients and learned that they, too, were eager to implement WHMIS 2015 right away.
“The clients knew they could count on us to join them in early implementation, because we have the reputation as the strictest pipeline contractor in the region when it comes to safety,” Wagner said. “So it only made sense for us to jump right in. This way, there will be no problems or confusion when our employees are on their worksites.”
WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. Chemicals covered by WHMIS 2015 that Pipeworx employees deal with include lubricants, cutting fluid, antifreeze, paint and printer toner, as well as everyday household products such as WD-40, Windex and Armor All. If it’s a chemical, no matter how common, there are guidelines for safe handling that must be followed, Wagner said.
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