WHMIS and the worker
The worker’s right to know about hazards
One of the three basic rights that the OHSA gives to all workers is the right to know about hazards they may be exposed to on the job. Compliance with the OHSA and WHMIS Regulation is necessary to fulfill the worker’s right to know about hazardous chemical and biological agents in the workplace. Under WHMIS, workers have access to labels, safety data sheets and training and instruction about hazardous products. In addition, through the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, workers have the right to be consulted about how the WHMIS training is developed and implemented. While the OHSA does not address who should deliver WHMIS training, the Ministry of Labour regards the principle of workers training other workers as a good one, which should be encouraged where appropriate.
The worker’s responsibilities
Workers also have responsibilities that support the successful implementation of a WHMIS program at a workplace. In general, a worker should:
- read and follow instructions on product labels and safety data sheets,
- follow procedures established for the workplace, including the use of personal protective equipment,
- participate in instruction and training,
- ask a supervisor if unsure about how to use or handle a particular product, and
- report to the employer or supervisor any contraventions of the legislation or hazards, such as the absence of a safety data sheet for a new product, or a label that can no longer be read.