As 2020 comes to a close, to the relief of many, one common question relating to workplace safety in Canada remains: Do workers need WHMIS 2021 training?
Before we answer, let’s take a quick look at the recent history with the WHMIS updates and why this question comes up every year.
WHMIS 2021 vs. WHMIS 2015
People started referring to WHMIS as “WHMIS 2015” after changes that took place in February of 2015. This was necessary to distinguish between the new GHS-aligned WHMIS and the original WHMIS. At that point, the original WHMIS became known as “WHMIS 1988”.
A distinction between the two was needed since significant changes were made to the way that chemicals were classified and labeled. WHMIS 2015 also introduced new Safety Data Sheets and Pictograms, among other things.
So basically, the inclusion of the year that WHMIS integrated GHS components, 2015, is what’s led to Canadian’s asking if a “new” WHMIS was introduced every year.
Is There “WHMIS 2021 Training” or What?
So is there a new WHMIS in 2021?
The simple answer to this is, no. There hasn’t been an overhaul to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information system since 2015.
This doesn’t, however, mean that workers don’t need updated WHMIS training in 2021. In fact, a very large percentage of Canadian workers will need to have updated WHMIS training this year. Read on to learn whether or not you need to get WHMIS certified this year or need to provide WHMIS training to your staff.
Who Needs WHMIS Training in 2021
There are a few more extremely common questions about WHMIS that we’re asked often. These include:
Who Needs WHMIS Training?
When Does WHMIS Training Expire?
How Often Do Workers Need WHMIS Training?
The question about who needs training has a relatively easy answer. Any worker in Canada who works with or in close proximity to hazardous products needs WHMIS training. The supervisors of these workers must also take WHMIS training so they can properly promote and enforce WHMIS requirements.
Regarding how often a worker needs training, this depends on several factors.
There’s nothing in the legislation that clearly specifies how often workers need WHMIS training. Basically, it’s left up to employers to determine this. You can learn more about when WHMIS “expires” by visiting this article.
Best Practices and Recommendations
There are best practices and recommendations that can be followed to help stay compliant.
It’s recommended that workers receive WHMIS training at least annually, especially if they are working directly with hazardous products. Many employers follow this recommendation as it helps ensure that workers always have the knowledge to protect themselves and their coworkers from chemicals at all times.
Some employers will provide training less frequently than annually, and this can be perfectly fine. The frequency that workers will need training is dependent on a lot of factors that are specific to the workplace.
Many experts agree that going beyond three years without WHMIS training is a bad idea. This will likely result in an increased risk of illness and injury from hazardous products. It also increases a company’s risk of penalties from its jurisdiction’s health and safety authority.
How to Get WHMIS Certified in 2021
Getting WHMIS certified in 2021 has never been easier. As a worker, you can take a super-convenient Online WHMIS course and get your certificate in about an hour. This beats the hassle of finding and attending an expensive, time-consuming classroom training session. With COVID 19, the availability of classroom training has dropped dramatically.