When Do you have to Renew WHMIS?

Knowing when you need to renew WHMIS can be unclear. The problem is that there is no clear renewal frequency for WHMIS specified in the regulations. So you can ask a friend or coworker and they may say you only have to take WHMIS one time. And ask another and they may say you have to take WHMIS every two years.

WHMIS training is not something you do once and are done. WHMIS regulations have training requirements that state employers must ensure employees are knowledgeable on WHMIS. This is also considered an ongoing requirement, as the chemicals and controlled products in the workplace may change as Health Canada keeps up with global standards. These changes must be communicated to anyone new to WHMIS, but also people and employees who have taken the course before have to be kept up to date in the latest information.

For example, the most recent regulations were published in a version called WHMIS 2015. Hazardous products produced following the WHMIS 2015 requirements may have wording, labels, symbols, wording or other ways that differ from the previous version of WHMIS.

Employers must ensure their workers are protected. If they are not familiar with the new changes, it puts workers, their coworkers and the public at risk for accidental injuries. During the ongoing transition from version to version, education must be ongoing and awareness must be considered of the utmost importance. New employees may not be familiar with the old version, and employees that have been there for a long time may not be familiar yet with any items or protocols they encounter that now follow the new standards.

Another way that WHMIS updates can happen is if there is a government change or changes to the occupational health and safety regulations for your province, region, or industry-jurisdiction. As governments change and new research is conducted, best practices are updated accordingly. If there has been a government change in your area, it is not a bad idea to contact a WHMIS training organization to see if any laws have changed that would impact your need to update your WHMIS certification.

It can be difficult to keep up with these updates and even the most diligent employers cannot assume because someone was trained once that the person will retain that information forever. This creates the need for retraining or a refresher course to make sure employees have the latest information. In addition to training, knowledge testing is one of the main methods of demonstrating that an employee has retained the information from the training materials.

WHMIS regulations are enforced by provincial authorities. If you are visited by a health and safety representative or inspector, in general they are looking to see that training has been completed in the not too distant past. A suggested guideline is that your most recent training should have been completed roughly within the past one year. A good way to do this is if your employer incorporates this as part of an annual WHMIS review to keep employees up to date and informed about WHMIS.

It has also become common for contract workers to be required to show proof of WHMIS training, in the form of a WHMIS card or WHMIS certificate as a condition for working on a jobsite. This affects many workers who work on client jobsites. In these situations a standard practice is to require training certificates be dated less than one year ago.

If it has been more than one year since you completed WHMIS training it may be time to renew your WHMIS.

Another way you can be sure your WHMIS is up to date if is you experience job change. Your new employer may ask you directly to see if you have an up to date certificate that proves you have completed the most up to date training. Along with being up to date, it is important that if you are starting a new job, you are fully informed on any new risks, hazardous materials you may be in contact with that had been unfamiliar to you to this point in your career. If you are in a new position, with a new environment, duties, and products, it is in your best interest to ensure you are trained well. Safety training should be part of starting any new job, and making sure your WHMIS training is up to date is the most thorough way to make sure you are able to keep yourselves and others around you safe.

For employers who are large enough companies, it can be extremely beneficial to appoint and train a safety officer whose job it is to keep track of the status of WHMIS completion or ongoing training at your place of work. The safety officer can be an Human Resources professional, a shift supervisor, or any other interested party. Developing your safety officer's duties can be completely up to you and incorporating WHMIS training and monitoring can be extremely easy - if you choose to go with an online WHMIS training provider like SafeAndCertified.com.

With an online organization like SafeAndCertified.com, your individual employees have their progress or need for updating tracked automatically. You can receive automated alerts and then all you need to do is help to facilitate the best time for them to finish training or updates to their training.

And even though keeping updated with WHMIS may seem like a headache, SafeAndCertified.com has everything setup for you to make ensuring your compliance is as fast and easy as possible. Just like we can help track progress and supply you with automated reminders, we have the ability to keep you 100% updated with any changing rules and regulations. Our online modules are user-friendly, easy to understand, and can be completed in as little as one day. Testing is provided at the end of your training, with the opportunity to immediately correct any answers and re-submit to assure that you have retained the correct knowledge. Certification can be printed out immediately and, just like that, your WHMIS compliance is achieved.