What Is the Importance of Having WHMIS Labels?

WHMIS Labels

When it comes to protecting yourself, you must take the appropriate measures. From the precautions you take while outside to following the rules at work, your safety is not always guaranteed. In fact, workplace safety may sometimes be ignored out of complacency, which can be dangerous for your well-being.

For decades, a universal set of guidelines has been established to mitigate the potential for accidents to happen in your occupation. WHMIS is one of the systems used to help workers become familiar with safety protocols. By following the WHMIS labels, you can rest assured that your safety will be guaranteed while on the job.

Let’s learn more about the importance of WHMIS:

What exactly is WHMIS?

Known as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, the WHMIS system ensures that disasters are prevented. WHMIS can often be outlined on various pieces of documentation. However, the most common form is to find the information on labels.

Depending on nearby substances or hazards, a WHMIS label may describe the danger with symbols. These symbols will indicate to the worker whether or not the area is safe to engage with. From chemicals to gases, to other materials, a WHMIS label will illustrate what is present.

Workplace Health

Don’t just think that workplaces, such as the office, are completely immune from a potential disaster. It is actually more commonplace to find WHMIS-related materials or substances in areas, such as the kitchen. By providing accuracy on the labels of the product or substance, WHMIS prioritizes health and safety.

Once this occurs, environmental safety becomes much more bolstered as a result. Moreover, a WHMIS label also instructs users on how to interact with a potentially dangerous item. If there is a need to dispose of the product in a specific, safe way, the label will usually indicate that. Plus, they are generally easy and legible to read!

Detailed Labelling

Even though most WHMIS symbols indicate what harmful substance is present, WHMIS goes a step beyond that notion. For starters, these symbols also come equipped with the right instructions and guidelines. These details will help inform the user on how to engage with the product, as mentioned previously.

The symbols also inform the handler on what kind of damage is possible with misuse of the item. Moreover, the damage itself can come about in ranging severities, such as mild to moderate. With the proper knowledge, a worker will interact with each WHMIS product safely every time!


Workers will only recognize the labelling of various WHMIS-related products once training has occurred. Thankfully, most workplaces that teach their employees about WHMIS labels will also provide them with the appropriate training. From the detailing of the symbols to user engagement, it is as comprehensive as you would believe it to be.

WHMIS training can go on for weeks, especially if the workplace is more dangerous than anticipated. However, training should not be overlooked no matter how long it takes. By thoroughly knowing about the workplace risks, an employee will learn to stay safe and sound at all times.

Avoiding Toxic Materials

As mentioned previously, many WHMIS labels indicate to a user how dangerous a substance may be. Some substances are dangerous, but they can be handled with the appropriate care. Others may be much more toxic in nature and should be avoided entirely. These substances could be gaseous and should be avoided at all costs unless the right equipment is worn.

For example, some products will be labelled with a biohazard symbol. This will indicate to the handler that there is a severe level of danger to be expected. Always make sure the right personal protective equipment is worn to reduce your chances of being in harm.

Required By Law

The WHMIS system is universal in Canada and has been established to ensure that all workplaces are as safe as possible. Therefore, your workplace should take the time to ensure that the right labels are attached to each product. Failure to do this could result in legal action being taken if someone becomes harmed on the job.

In addition, the regulations of a workplace’s WHMIS system could range, depending on the province or territory. However, each system has the exact same function in essence. By becoming accustomed to the protocols surrounding WHMIS, you will be protected. Not only is this a personal responsibility, but it is an employer obligation as well.

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