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5. WHMIS and the Worker

  • ISBN: 978-1-4249-6996-8
  • Revised: August 2008
  • Content last reviewed: June 2009

This guideline is being updated to reflect changes that take effect July 1, 2016 as amendments to the WHMIS regulation, Regulation 860, come into force.

Worker Rights

WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) gives workers the right to know about the hazardous materials they are exposed to on the job. This includes the right to review labels and MSDSs, and to receive instruction and training. Workers also have the right to be consulted regarding the development and implementation of the instruction and training. This means that workers have the right to be included in discussions of the content of the program, the amount of training, who is to receive what training, who delivers the training, etc. While the Occupational Health and Safety Act does not require workers, or give them the right, to actually do the training, the Ministry of Labour regards the principle of workers training other workers as a good one, which should be encouraged where appropriate.

Worker Responsibilities

Neither the Occupational Health and Safety Act nor the WHMIS Regulation places direct duties on the worker regarding the implementation of WHMIS. However, the general duties of the worker as originally set out in the Act [section 28] are very important to the successful implementation of WHMIS. One of these duties is the duty of the worker to report to the employer any violation of the Act or regulations. With respect to implementing WHMIS, the worker should inform the employer if the worker does not have the proper information on a controlled product. For example, the worker would report the absence of an MSDS for a new product, or the fact that a label had become illegible.

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