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Workplace Hazards

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) provides important information on the safe use of hazardous materials, by means of product labels, data sheets and worker education programs. As a health care worker, it is important to know any dangers involved with the products you are using and how to adhere to provincial legislation on handling them safely.


Patricia is a health care worker. She has been provided with a new version of a chemical product she has use multiple times in the past.

Is Patricia okay to move forward with using the product?


The most important information I need to know.



Safety Data Sheets

Products that are flammable hazards. They can ignite easily and burn rapidly.
Skull and Crossbones
Products that are fatal, toxic, or harmful when inhaled, swallowed, or in contact with skin.
Gas Cylinder
Products that contain gases that are stored under pressure.
Flame Over Circle
Products that are oxidizers. They are a serious fire hazard if not handled or stored properly.
Health Hazard
Products that can cause chronic health effects (i.e. developed over time from exposure) or targeted health effects (i.e. specific to organ systems).
Exclamation Mark
Health effects that may not be obvious to you (e.g. skin or eye irritation). These effects can be reversed with medical treatment.
Any product that can damage or destroy steel or aluminum, or can cause damage to skin, eyes, or the respiratory tract.
Exploding Bomb
Products that are explosive.
Biohazardous Infectious Materials
Organisms that can cause diseases in people or animals.

Labels are required for all WHMIS products. There are two types of labels:

  • Labels made by the supplier
  • Labels made in the workplace

Both types of labels contain information about the product and precautionary measures needed to use the hazardous product safely. Always make sure to read the labels before using the product.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are technical information sheets that contain details about chemicals being used. There are 16 sections which provide critical information from First Aid Procedures to Waste Disposal instructions.

To find the SDSs for chemicals used in VCH, visit the Safety Data Sheets Database.


Tips to help me take care and stay safe.

Read the label

Most of the information you need on how to safely use a product can be found on the label. Make sure to fully understand a product before using it and ask your supervisor for more information if something remains unclear.

Know where to find more info

In addition to reading labels and asking your supervisor, know where else to find more information on hazardous products. Safety Data Sheets are available to all staff and can be accessed from any computer at the Safety Data Sheets Database.


Checking my confidence in this subject.


Know that WHMIS is critical if you’re using hazardous products as part of your job. When you get to your department, check with your manager whether you’re required to complete the WHMIS 2015 course. 

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