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WHMIS Testing - What to do… And, what NOT to do.

WHMIS testing is an integral part of obtaining WHMIS certification. It is extremely important to administer tests to determine the knowledge of a person(s) with regards to WHMIS regulations and practices. WHMIS stands for “Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System”. All employers must ensure that their employees are knowledgeable with regards to the WHMIS regulations, including WHMIS symbols, Material Safety Data Sheets, workplace labels, and the specific controlled products in their workplace.

When an employee completes a WHMIS test this is helping the employer build a case for providing due diligence that their workers are knowledgeable on the subject of WHMIS, and that they have acquired a level of knowledge on the subject. These training and WHMIS test records must be stored by the employer as proof of education, which shows that they have done, in part, their “due diligence”. The employer must also be able to exemplify that they have observed the employee in the workplace, and have shown them how to work with specific chemicals in a safe and effective manner.

The key to successful WHMIS testing is to administer formal tests, store these test results, and re-test to refresh people’s memories on an annual basis. A formal WHMIS test will include questions that encompass Basic WHMIS regulation information, the WHMIS symbols, workplace labels, and how to read and understand a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Training and testing can be done in a variety of ways – traditional classroom style setting with an outside trainer, or even online. One thing to consider is that classroom training tends to be far more costly than the online option, and more time consuming.

Using standard tests that are not regularly updated to keep pace with the changing legislation will not suffice. Disposing of test records (proof) could also cause potentially severe consequences for a company. These consequences can be as lax as having an improvement order issued, or as extreme as a total organizational shut-down until the issues are resolved. For the amount of time it takes to train and test employees, and store the records – why risk it?

WHMIS testing can help keep a company in good standing with Workplace Health & Safety… How is your training and records management currently being handled?

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