WHMIS Procedure

Effective Date:  December 2004

Revised: September 2005, October 2008, September 2012, March 2017

Approved By: Associate Vice President, Human Resources


To develop a Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) procedure to ensure all Lakehead University employees have the skills and knowledge to identify, understand and safely manage the hazards associated while working with hazardous substances.  This WHMIS policy was developed in accordance with the University’s directive on health and safety and to ensure compliance with Ontario Occupational Health and Safety regulations.  WHMIS training delivers the necessary information to employees through; labels on containers of hazardous products, MSDS’s and worker training program.


This policy applies to any employee or contractor working for Lakehead University who works “with or near” a controlled substance.  This includes all members of the faculty, staff, students, contract, part-time employees and volunteers.


WHMIS         Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. A Canada wide information system that deals specifically with safe management and use of hazardous materials legislated by both federal and provincial governments.


MSDS            Material Safety Data Sheet.  A document required under WHMIS regulation containing specific data about hazardous material properties and safe handling procedures.

SDS                Safety Data Sheet.  A document required under WHMIS 2015 regulation containing specific data about hazardous material properties and safe handling procedures.

Hazardous Products            Products regulated by WHMIS or other legislation

Controlled Drugs                  drugs listed under the Controlled Drugs Substances Act


Applicable Legislation:   

Occupational Health and Safety Act, Sections 37, 38, 42       

Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation 851, R.R.O, 1990, Industrial Establishment

Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation 860, R.R.O. 1990, WHMIS

Ontario Reg. 833 R.R. O. 1990, Control of Exposure to Biological and Chemical Agents

Ontario Reg. 490/09 - Designated Substances

Ontario Fire Code (O. Reg. 213/07)

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Hazardous Products Act and Regulation

Canadian Biosafety Standards, 2nd edition



1.    The use of chemicals must conform to all applicable legislation, WHMIS requirements and SDS recommendations.  All work with hazardous materials must be supervised.

2.    The use of Biological agents in Risk Group 1 or 2 must be approved by the University’s Biosafety Committee.  See Biosafety Protocol for guidance.   https://www.lakeheadu.ca/faculty-and-staff/departments/services/hr/healt...

3.    All persons using hazardous chemicals shall be trained in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) before commencing work.  Re-training shall be provided by supervisors as often as necessary to maintain awareness of WHMIS requirements, at minimum annual retraining is required.  All Supervisors must ensure that all employees and students that they supervise have current WHMIS training.

4.   Wherever hazardous materials are used, safety data sheets shall be readily available. All SDS must be current and valid for the products in use.

5.    All persons using hazardous materials shall receive work-specific training in the safe use, storage, disposal and spill control of hazardous materials prior to beginning work with the materials.  All training shall be documented and records retained by the supervisor.

6.    A spill kit appropriate for the area shall be situated in every location where hazardous materials are used and/or stored.

7.    annual current inventory of hazardous substances shall be maintained on Lakehead University’s ErPortal Inventory system. 

  1. 8.    All storage areas where hazardous materials are kept shall be inspected regularly and such inspections must be recorded.

9.    Supervisors in charge of areas where hazardous materials are used shall ensure that engineered systems (e.g. fume hoods) are maintained and in working order.  Supervisors are responsible for reporting any concerns related to function or regular maintenance to Physical Plant immediately.  Records of testing and maintenance shall be kept in Physical Plant.

10.   An antidote will be accessible in any area where a chemical is used and/ or stored if that chemical’s SDS so prescribes.

11.   Hazardous waste will be labeled and submitted for waste pick up promptly.  See Hazardous Waste Disposal Standard https://www.lakeheadu.ca/faculty-and-staff/departments/services/hr/health-safety/tb/policies-procedures/hazardous-waste-disposal-standard

12.   All areas at Lakehead University where hazardous materials are stored or used will be in full compliance with WHMIS 2015 requirements by November 30, 2018.



  • Whenever possible, non-hazardous or less hazardous materials should be substituted for hazardous materials.
  • Hazardous materials shall be used in a safe and conscientious manner.
  • Quantities of hazardous materials should be kept to a minimum.
  • Hazardous materials must be stored in appropriate places.  Refer to SDS for storage safety information.
  • All hazardous materials must be labeled in compliance with WHMIS requirements.  Hazardous products may not be used in the workplace if the correct label is not attached.  There are two types of labels; supplier and workplace label.  Refer to WHMIS regulations for direction on labeling requirements.
  • Exercise proper personal hygiene.  Precautions must be taken to block all routes of entry to chemicals and to minimize occupational exposure.  Use multiple containment systems; wear appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment.  Practice good laboratory hygiene and housekeeping.



            All personnel who work with or near hazardous materials, including faculty, staff, volunteers, graduate and summer students shall complete WHMIS training annually, available on the Online Lakehead University Training Site  https://www.lakeheadu.ca/faculty-and-staff/departments/services/hr/healt....


It is the responsibility of all departments and Supervisors to ensure their employees have completed the WHMIS training annually.



This procedure shall be evaluated by the Health and Safety Officer and/or Lab and Biosafety Specialist in conjunction with the Joint Health and Safety Committee every two years.