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WHMIS Labels A reliable supply of Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels is a must for any workplace where hazardous materials are used. In fact, WHMIS labels are mandated by law; the WHMIS label must be affixed to a product before it is handled by any worker. Ideally, the product should have a WHMIS label before it leaves its manufacturer, but if it doesn´t, it´s the employer´s duty to add one. The purpose of a WHMIS label is threefold: to inform workers of potential dangers associated with using the product, to recommend precautions against exposure, and to offer first aid recommendations if exposure occurs. The WHMIS concept was enacted in 1988, as part of a program to protect the rights and health of employers, workers, and suppliers. Along with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and worker education, the use of WHMIS labels is an integral part of this program. Used properly, a WHMIS label communicates the potential danger if a product is not used as recommended, thus reducing the potential of workplace injury. A WHMIS label consists of several elements, all of which are intended to be clear and obvious to anyone using the product. All relevant information is enclosed in a bold, black, dashed border. The name of the product is centered in bold capital letters at the top. Potential hazards are indicated with clear graphical symbols, accompanied with blocks of bulleted text that simply and clearly state the risk phases, recommended precautionary measures, and first aid measures associated with the product. A reference to the appropriate MSDS follows, and contact information for the supplier completes the text. Canadian law requires that the text on a WHMIS label be bilingual in both French and English.
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