In virtually every occupation, a level of safety is guaranteed. Being secure within your role means that your immediate environment is not a clear and present danger to your health. However, some work environments may not be as safe as they can be. This is why certain security measures must be enforced in the workplace.
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, or WHMIS, is the standard that every workplace should strive for. If your office or workplace does not have one in place, it would be wise to create a program. WHMIS programs should be as meticulous as possible to ensure the safety of your workers.
Here are seven steps to make the perfect WHMIS workplace program:
1. Ask Questions
Before you even begin documenting what should and shouldn’t be in your program, ask yourself some questions. Generally speaking, these questions have to do with what is needed from a potential WHMIS program. For example, what is WHMIS to begin with? How will you administer the appropriate training to employees?
The answers to these questions will generally be well thought out, and as detailed as possible. With respect to hazard inspections, you’ll have to make sure you do your due diligence when creating a program. Always ask for advice from the appropriate professionals if need be. No question is too unwise to ask!
2. Product Inventory
One of the most important preliminary steps to take when generating your program has to do with inventory. Find any and all potentially hazardous products in your workplace and inspect their labels. In your program documentation, you’ll want to identify each product clearly, alongside other aspects.
For instance, clearly outline the quantity of the product on hand, as well as its general location. The latter is extremely important to know about, in the event of a disastrous event such as a fire. List all products you have in your inventory, and take your time to cater to each item.
3. Workplace Inspections
Every so often, a designated worker will have to conduct the necessary inspections in and around the workplace. This is to not only ensure things are in working order, but to confirm that all products are not tampered with. One small oversight can lead to an unfortunate set of circumstances after all.
During the inspection, the first plan of action has to do with the proper labelling of each hazardous product. Inspect the packaging of the product, confirm that it is in good condition, and note it down. Depending on the size of the workplace, inspections can vary. Gauge this step accordingly for your WHMIS program.
4. Determine Exposure
While this may not be wholly necessary for most occupations, it is still an important factor to consider. Workers may inadvertently come into with hazardous materials or substances while on or off a site. The WHMIS training you eventually implement will have to address exposure, and what to do should it occur.
5. Training Guidelines
Speaking of training, this might be the most crucial of all components in a WHMIS program. Employers are responsible for ensuring that all workers are properly trained, before doing their respective duties. With respect to what that training should look like, a few options are available.
Workers should have an understanding as to what WHMIS is, along with knowing how to read safety symbols. Make sure that all this information is outlined in a safety data sheet, for ease of access. Allowing an employee to complete a WHMIS certification program, to finalize their training, may be needed. The more information they have, the safer they will be!
6. Record Keeping
All documentation that is pertinent to your WHMIS program should be safely stored away. Make sure that all pertinent information, such as monthly inspections, are listed clearly on a document to start. Employee training records, in addition, should be filed away as well.
The documentation you keep is pivotal, when trying to keep the work environment as safe as it can be. All components should be easily accessible, in the event that they are needed. That way, you protect all parties involved.
7. Reviewing and Revising
At some point, you will have to inspect your WHMIS program itself, long after it has been established. Work environments change all the time; some changes can bring about a new set of challenges. As such, take the time to look at what has worked and what hasn’t. If substantial changes are warranted, document them down and inform your workers as well.
Even though the potential for a severe disaster to strike is generally low, you always want to prioritize safety. Pre-emptively solving hazardous problems before they appear will keep you and your workers safe. WHMIS programs are designed with that sentiment in mind! As long as you are detailed in your approach, it will be successful.