WHMIS Supplier Labels are one of 2 main label types used to communicate and/or alert Canadian workers about any significant hazardous potential related to workplace product use. WHMIS supplier labels safeguard workers from hazards related to chemical products by outlining the precautionary measures and safety procedures to be taken when handling these products. As indicated by the name, the supplier (manufacturer/distributor) takes responsibility for properly classifying hazardous products as well as providing labels and SDS’s. WHMIS supplier labels are attached to any hazardous products received in the Canadian workplace and need not be changed within the products life-span given retainment of their durability, legibility, and accuracy of information.
Canada is a bilingual, English-French speaking country that requires supplier labels to provide any written information in both English and French, either on one label or on two separate, identical versions of the same label. Canada’s adoption of GHS under WHMIS 2015 standardizes the WHMIS supplier label requirements to include:
- Product Identifier: The brand name, chemical name, common name, generic name or trade name of the hazardous product, identical to that listed on the SDS
- Initial Supplier Identifier: Name, address, and telephone # of the first (Canadian) point of contact. This can include the Canadian manufacturer, importer, or distributor of hazard products to be received in Canadian workplaces
- Hazard Pictograms: A black symbol on a white background, framed by a red diamond. Most of the pictograms to be used on WHMIS supplier labels are GHS-prescribed. Assignment pictograms to specific hazard classes and categories efficiently convey related health or physical information using symbolism. The pictograms for WHMIS specific hazard classes not covered in GHS can be found in Schedule 5 of Canada’s HPR.
- Signal Word: The word ‘Danger’ is used to indicate more severe hazards or the word ‘Warning’ is used to indicate less severe hazards. Usage of signal words contributes to adequately communicating to users the hazardous potential of a product.
- Hazard Statement(s): Standardized phrases describing the type of hazards that a hazardous product may present.
- Precautionary Statement(s): Prescribed descriptors of measures one should take to minimize or prevent workplace injury and illness relating to accidental exposure to, or misuse of, hazardous products. Suppliers cannot pick and choose which specific statements they’d like to include; all precautionary statements prescribed to a hazard class and its subsequent categories must be used.
- Supplementary Information: Other related information may be added to the label, particularly when it has significant implications on a product’s hazard classification and safety measures. For example, a specific statement may be required for mixtures containing ingredients with unknown acute toxicity.
It should be noted that the label requirements outlined in WHMIS 1988 differ from those in WHMIS 2015. The hatched border requirement and statement referencing the MSDS are no longer required. The required informational elements are standardized to align with GHS: Inclusion of signal words, hazard statements, and hazard pictograms all constitute the WHMIS 2015 supplier label requirements.