OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 29 Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

Section 398 Label required

The employer must ensure that a WHMIS label is applied to a controlled product when the product enters the workplace. The employer must take measures, through worker education for example, to ensure that supplier labels are not removed, modified, defaced or altered. In facilities where containers may be recycled and reused, the employer must ensure that the original supplier label is removed from the container before the container is reused and that the container is then appropriately labelled (with a work site label) to reflect its contents.

Work site labels must be prepared and applied to containers if an existing supplier label becomes illegible or is accidentally removed and a replacement supplier label is not available. The employer must ensure that a controlled product or the product’s container bears a WHMIS label. The employer may be required to affix a label to:

(a) inner containers if the shipment is multi-container and the employer has agreed in writing with the supplier to apply the labels to the inner containers;
(b) imported products where the employer has imported the product for use at the employer’s workplace (in this case, the employer becomes the product “supplier” and must meet the supplier obligations set out in the Controlled Products Regulations for WHMIS labelling and MSDSs); and
(c) bulk shipments, unless as provided by section 15 of the Controlled Products Regulations, the supplier provides an MSDS or statement of label information instead of a supplier label for a controlled product, in which case, the employer may affix a work site label.

The employer must ensure that a controlled product is not used or handled at the workplace until the proper label has been applied. If a controlled product is received from a supplier without the proper label, the employer may store the product only while actively seeking the supplier label information. The employer has 120 days from the day the controlled product is received to obtain the label information.

If the information is not received and a label is therefore not applied within 120 days of receipt of the product, the employer may no longer store the product at the workplace. In this case, the employer may ship the product back to the supplier or properly dispose of the product in accordance with the appropriate environmental legislation. During the 120-day period, the product may be stored with placarding as long as workers working near the storage area have received instruction in the content of the placard, the purpose and significance of the information contained on the placard, and procedures to be followed should the product give off fugitive emissions or in the event of an emergency.