Who Needs WHMIS Training in 2021?
Depending on who you ask, the answer to the question, “who needs WHMIS training”, can vary significantly. Answers can range from, “workers who use chemicals to, “everyone in Canada”.
To figure out the best answer to this question, let’s consider the specific purpose of WHMIS training; to protect workers in Canada from chemical hazards in the workplace. By examining this alone, we can conclude that there are two factors that both must be present in order for an individual to require the training:
- The individual must be a worker in Canada
- The worker must be at risk of exposure to chemical hazards in the workplace
The first one is easy. It’s not difficult to determine if an individual is a worker in Canada. The second one, in some cases, is also easy. If an individual works directly with a chemical or multiple chemicals, then it’s obvious that the risk of exposure to chemical hazards exists.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
Most workers in Canada do not actually work directly with hazardous products. Some employers believe that because of this, they don’t need to provide training to their workers. This is simply not true. Even if a worker does not work directly with hazardous products, depending on circumstances in the workplace, they can still be exposed to chemical hazards.
Consequently, even if an employee infrequently works near a chemical product, and for a short period of time is exposed to the hazards associated with the product, they’ll need to be trained on WHMIS.
The Extent of Training
Chemical products are everywhere, therefore, they can likely be found in a very large percentage of workplaces. It’s up to an employer to determine what chemicals hazards are present, and then determine if their employees will be exposed to them. In most cases, their workers will require WHMIS training.
What’s important in many of these cases is the extent of Training that’s required.
An employee that directly works with a hazardous chemical will require more extensive training than an employee who works near a closet where cleaning supplies are stored. Both will require general WHMIS training at a minimum. The employee who works directly with a hazardous product will require additional training that is specific to the chemicals that they’re handling.