RRC Has a New WHMIS Course!
Here’s what has changed, why, and what you need to know.
Changes to WHMIS Legislation
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) legislation came into force in 1988. In recent years, efforts were made to globally harmonize WHMIS so that all countries around the world would be using a similar hazard communication system for labeling, Safety Data Sheets, and training. In 2015, Canada introduced new WHMIS legislation which was adopted by all provinces and territories.
Why is WHMIS Training Required?
The Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Act and Regulation state the safety and health responsibilities of the employer, supervisor and worker as well as other parties in the workplace. Under the Act, a student is considered a worker, and this means that the supervisor is the instructor. The employer has a responsibility to provide all workers (whether they are paid or unpaid) with information regarding the hazards in the workplace and how they are controlled. The worker has a right to know this information, must take the training provided and follow safe work procedures to protect themselves from those hazards.
Hazardous products are found throughout our environment at the College, and WHMIS training is workplace-specific. This means that in addition to the basic WHMIS information that is provided through the new WHMIS course, the worker must be provided with information and training that is specific to the hazards associated with the products actually being handled, used, and stored in the work area.
What is happening with WHMIS at RRC?
Due to the changes in the WHMIS legislation, we are required to update our WHMIS training material at the College.
The new course is now available via LEARN. (Effective August, 2016.)
The new course is replacing the “old” course offered online via a third-party, MasteryNet. The new course will be far more comprehensive than the course previously offered, and satisfies the requirements of WHMIS 2015 (regulatory changes) as well as WHMIS 1988. The new course is being developed by EHSS and the Teaching Learning Technology Centre (TLTC) with the support of many other departments including Information Technology Solutions (ITS), Enrolment Services, e-TV, among others.
Transition to WHMIS 2015
The federal government recognizes that a transition period is required as workplaces (including the College) move to the new system including re-labelling hazardous products, updating Safety Data Sheets, and so forth. During this time we must prepare students, staff and faculty so that they have the information to safely work with or in proximity to hazardous products that may have the “old” or “new” labeling, Safety Data Sheets, etc.. This transition period for employers ends December 1, 2018. At that point, the College’s WHMIS course will be amended again and the WHMIS 1988 information will be removed. It is also expected that by Dec. 1, 2018, the College is in full compliance with the requirements of WHMIS 2015.
About the New Course
- Information Sessions – Sessions have been offered to academic coordinators, instructors, educational assistants and others. These sessions provided an opportunity to learn more about the new course and to receive a sneak peek of the course content. If you would like to request a session, please contact Kerilyn. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Course Code – The common course code SAFE-1028 WHMIS must now be used for WHMIS. If your department is using a different course code for WHMIS, or if WHMIS is currently combined with another course, we are asking that the department submit a course creation form to Enrolment Services to ensure that the new stand-alone WHMIS course is added to the Program requirements. This will be particularly important moving forward.
- Course Content – The new course content has been developed as the “official” WHMIS course at RRC. It is expected that it will be used exclusively by all departments where WHMIS training is required. Instructors are welcome to use the WHMIS course content in LEARN for classroom use.
- Help with the New WHMIS Course – If you have questions or concerns related to the course content please contact EHSS. email@example.com
WHMIS for Students
All students of the College will have access to the new WHMIS course. Only those who are required to complete WHMIS to fulfill their Program requirements have to complete the course.
Once the student completes the course online, LEARN will automatically generate an email which will be sent to the student’s College email address. This email serves as proof of completion of the WHMIS course and should be provided to the instructor. The instructor can then input the student’s WHMIS grade (pass/fail) into WebAdvisor. There is no instructor or coordinator attached to WHMIS in LEARN. This means that instructors cannot check LEARN to verify a student’s completion.
Even though a student may have previously taken WHMIS and a grade recorded in Colleague, training must be given regarding the new WHMIS requirements for due diligence purposes. This is to ensure that students have the information needed to read and understand the new labels and Safety Data Sheets. Education and training should occur prior to exposure to the hazardous products. Currently, WHMIS training is valid for three years.
If a student has failed the final test two times, it is recommended that they arrange for optional tutoring. (See contact information below.) If the students decides not to arrange a tutoring session, they should review the course material and test feedback prior to attempting the test a third time.
If the student does not pass after the third attempt, they must inform their instructor and then arrange a mandatory tutoring session with Ron Hamerling firstname.lastname@example.org or Dayna Graham (Exchange District Campus) email@example.com. Indicate this is for a WHMIS training session. After satisfactorily completing the tutoring session, the student will have one more opportunity to take the final test.
If the student speaks English as a second or additional language, language skills may make it challenging to understand the content in the course or successfully complete the test.
The student can access free ESL tutoring to help develop their language skills for success in the course and in their college program. Learn more about ESL Tutoring here. If the student is interested in working with an ESL tutor they can contact Kaleigh Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHMIS for Staff and Faculty
All staff and faculty of the College will have access to the new WHMIS course and must complete the new course.
Since WHMIS has changed significantly, including labeling and Safety Data Sheets, staff and faculty who have previously taken the “old” WHMIS will be required to take the new course, even if they recently took the “old” WHMIS. This is to ensure that all staff and faculty have the information needed to read and understand the new labels, Safety Data Sheets, and to ensure that their work areas are compliant with WHMIS requirements. Education and training should occur prior to exposure to the hazardous products. Currently, WHMIS training is valid for three years.
WHMIS is Workplace-Specific
Please note that WHMIS training is workplace-specific. In each workplace there are different hazardous products stored, handled and used. For this reason, the hazards within the workplace also differ and the training must reflect the hazards and control measures appropriate to the hazards in the workplace.
The new WHMIS course provides the basics regarding WHMIS. It does not address specific hazards associated with specific hazardous products in each department, shop, lab, work area or storage area. The department is responsible for providing additional training to staff and students so that they are aware of and prepared to work with or in the vicinity of the specific hazardous products in the work area.
For these same reasons, each employer must provide workplace-specific WHMIS training. If a student or staff moves on to a new workplace, the new employer at the site is responsible for providing safety and health training that is specific to the employer’s work environment, and this includes WHMIS training. Students who are going out to a work practicum or placement must also be provided workplace-specific WHMIS training by the employer at the site.
How to Access the New WHMIS Course
Go to https://learn.rrc.ca/index.asp
Log in using your College username and password.
Select the WHMIS course from your assigned courses list.
If you require Learn technical support, email email@example.com.
For questions about the course content, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHMIS Pictogram Posters
A new poster featuring the new WHMIS pictograms (symbols) is available to all departments. Contact email@example.com to request a copy.
The WHMIS Handbook
The WHMIS Handbook previously offered through the Campus Store will no longer be available as the new course content, including glossary of terms, is printable and available as resource information.
For More Information
If you would like more information about the new course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for the WHMIS inventory form or to create a WHMIS workplace label.
Click here to access the RRC Safety Data Sheet database or to submit a Safety Data Sheet to the RRC Safety Data Sheet database.