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WHMIS and Occupational Health

Occupational health programs are primarily concerned with the recognition, evaluation, and control of work-related health hazards that may cause sickness, compromised well being, or discomfort. The effects of exposure to health hazards may be serious and immediate or cause long-term problems.

Occupational health hazards include:

  • chemicals (solids, liquids, gases, and aerosols such as dust, mist, vapour, liquid, smoke, or fume),
  • physical hazards (heat, cold, noise, vibration, radiation),
  • biological agents (moulds, viruses, bee stings), and
  • ergonomic hazards (improper lifting, pool tool design, repetitive motion)

Occupational health has received increasing attention in recent years as the result of mounting concerns over exposure to carcinogens in the workplace. The health effects of many new substances are not fully known.

Requirements

Most construction companies need a program to recognize occupational health hazards. Ensure that recognition, assessment and control of health hazards, and WHMIS are all part of the program. It should be straight forward so that workers and supervisors can readily identify hazards or potential hazards and determine the appropriate methods of protection.

When developing your Occupational Health program, consider the following:

  • Train workers to recognize health hazards
  • Include health hazards as part of your regular workplace inspections
  • Set and monitor standards for exposure controls
  • Eliminate health hazards at the source (where it originates) whenever possible
  • Ensure company compliance with WHMIS regulations
  • Develop specific procedures for designated substances when required
  • Keep the program information current, information on occupational health hazards is constantly being updated.

Samples

Links to other topics

Links to existing IHSA and MOL material

Caution/Disclaimer

The samples provided are intended to be modified to meet company or site-specific requirements. Without such modifications, they may not be appropriate. Although IHSA believes that the information provided is consistent with the legal requirements and/or good industry practices which prevailed at the time the information was compiled, users of this information are urged to check with current regulations, local/trade practices and the most recent edition of the reference material to ensure that it is still appropriate.

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