You’ll find hazardous products in use in virtually every industry in Canada, from healthcare to manufacturing to maintenance to dry-cleaning. Understanding how to handle those products safely, how to identify potential threats, and knowing what to do in the case of exposure to dangerous chemicals and other materials are all vital for workplace safety and your health. Can you accomplish this with free WHMIS training online?
WHMIS training teaches you how to do all this and more, and most employers require that their employees are WHMIS certified. You have two primary options when it comes to obtaining that certification – free WHMIS training online and paid WHMIS training.
Which is better for your needs?
Who Needs WHMIS Training?
Before we explore free WHMIS training online, we need to first establish who needs WHMIS training in the first place. This is both simple and difficult to do. Because WHMIS only applies in Canada, it’s easy to say that only Canadian workers need to worry about this type of training.
However, because WHMIS deals with exposure to and handling of hazardous products, it becomes more difficult to determine who specifically requires that training. Really, any worker who might possibly come into contact with hazardous products in the workplace requires WHMIS training. You’ll find some obvious and perhaps not so obvious examples in the list below:
- Office workers
- Factory workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Automotive professionals
- Food service industry workers
- Healthcare workers
- Laboratory workers
These are just a few examples. In truth, anyone who could possibly be exposed to hazardous products at work should have this training.
The Truth about Free WHMIS Training Online
Now that we’ve established who can benefit from WHMIS training, it’s time to delve into how you obtain that training. Free WHMIS training online is available, but is it worth it?
Would you be better off with a paid training program?
The common answer is that free training may be best avoided, and that paid programs are the better option. Why, though? Let’s consider a few aspects of both, and you’ll see why free training programs may not be your best option.
Completeness: One of the most important things to consider when comparing free WHMIS training online to paid options is whether or not the course is complete. Too many free programs are sadly lacking and skip over key areas. Obviously, you cannot be WHMIS certified correctly if you are not trained in all applicable areas.
Up to Date: In 2015, WHMIS was updated to include many elements from the GHS. This resulted in significant changes to labels, symbols, hazard classification, and safety data sheets. Workers must understand these new elements in order to keep themselves safe as well as keep employers compliant. The challenge here is that many free WHMIS training online providers are not up to date with the WHMIS 2015 changes.
Certification: There is no law that requires employers to accept WHMIS certification from any training program, but the chances of an employer accepting certification from a low-quality, free training provider is likely much lower. With a reputable training provider that offers WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 compliant courses, you’ll find that your certification is much more likely to be accepted.
Training Management: With free WHMIS training online, you will find that managing your training can be very difficult. Most of these providers offer extremely basic user interfaces that don’t really allow you to monitor and track yours or your worker’s training. That can make it difficult to ensure that you’re actually progressing at the pace you should. With most reputable, paid training providers, you benefit from a streamlined, modern user interface that makes tracking progress and monitoring your pace simple and easy.
Recordkeeping: Recordkeeping is an important consideration, particularly when it comes to employers. They’re required to show proof that their employees are WHMIS certified and compliant. Most free WHMIS training online does not provide any type of recordkeeping or tracking, but an advanced, paid training program can ensure that employers are able to track employee training and prove compliance.
How to Identify a Reputable Online WHMIS Provider
By this point, it should be clear that free WHMIS training online may not be the best option for getting WHMIS certified or providing training to your employees. A paid training provider is likely the better option in every respect. Paid providers are constantly updating their programs and platforms in order to acquire and retain loyal clients.
However, you need to realize that not all paid training providers are cut from the same cloth. How do you choose the right one? How do you identify a “reputable” online WHMIS training provider?
First, make sure that the company’s courses are compliant with both WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015. If you do not see this information displayed on the company’s website, it’s best to look elsewhere. You also need to consider how widely accepted the company’s certifications are – there’s little point in completing a course only to find that no employers will accept the certification you earn.
Finally, make sure that the company you ultimately choose offers highly-interactive course content, and allows you to retake the quizzes as often as necessary. This ensures that you’re able to truly master the material while reducing the hassle and headaches involved with rescheduling tests or signing back up and completing the entire training program again if you don’t pass the quizzes the first time. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the company offers a money-back guarantee on your success, as this speaks directly to the quality, acceptance, and completeness of their course.