To put it simply, it’s the law in Canada. This is why WHMIS training, testing and certification is now in such high demand. In virtually all industries across our Nation, companies are exploring options to have their staff WHMIS trained.
On October 31st, 1988 – WHMIS became a Canadian law. It was developed by a series of representatives from Industry & Labour, and Government. Many people question who it is that ultimately enforces this law. On a provincial level, it is enforced by provincial or territorial Health & Safety Agencies. Federally speaking, WHMIS is enforced by HR Development Canada (Labour Branch).
As an employer, having a sold Health & Safety program, which includes regular WHMIS training and testing is a great way to “insure” your business against an audit by Workplace Health & Safety. Although audits are always something that companies hope to avoid, they are becoming more and more frequent in Canadian workplaces. During these audits, Employers must be able to provide proof of WHMIS training in the form of a WHMIS certificate and/or training records. It doesn’t stop there though, the employer must exercise their due diligence by demonstrating safe hands-on practices associated with various products and chemicals, and keep a record of this.
Although it is ultimately the responsibility of the Employer to provide WHMIS awareness training to their Employees, countless people looking to become WHMIS certified to assist them in obtaining a new career path. They are simply hoping that this will provide them with the “marketable edge” needed to secure a better job. Obviously a contributing factor to this “marketable edge” is that obtaining WHMIS Certification shows motivation and dedication to potential employers. The fact that someone has taken the time to seek out this training, lends much credibility to the type of worker that they will be. In a job market of such fierce competition, one can truly never have too much to offer on a job application.
Still not convinced why WHMIS is so important? Consider this fact. Health & Safety violations are considered criminal offences in Canada. The Criminal Code now states that "Everyone who undertakes, or has authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task, is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task."
Each year in Canada 800,000 people are injured or killed on the job. The most distressing part about these accidents is that they were ALL preventable.
Above and beyond all other reasons, this is truly why WHMIS is so important. Knowledge is power, and knowledgeable Workers are safe Workers.
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