WHMIS Workplace Labeling

WHAT are Workplace Labels?

A workplace label is used to identify a hazardous chemical that has been transferred from its original container to a secondary container. It indicates the name of the chemical, safe handling precautions and a reference to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) if one exists.

WHERE can I get Workplace Labels?

Pre-made workplace label templates for commonly used chemicals are available for download here. You can make your own workplace labels as long as they contain the following items:

  1. The name of the chemical written exactly as it appears on the SDS (e.g., “Ethanol” not “EtOH”)
  2. Safe handling instructions (personal protective equipment and other handling information indicated in Section 7 of the SDS)
  3. A reference to the SDS (i.e., “Refer to Safety Data Sheet”)

You are welcome to include other information on the workplace label if you wish. Below are examples of three different workplace labels that all meet the WHMIS regulation criteria.

Example 1

 The U of T Workplace Label template can be downloaded here and is formatted to print on Avery 60506 labels (available at U of T MedStore). Open the template in Adobe (not your web browser), type in the required information for each label and print directly onto Avery 60506.

 Example 2

This label has been created with the free “Design and Print” software available at https://www.avery.ca/ using the Avery 60506 template.

Example 3

Workplace labels can be made with lab tape and a permanent marker as long as all three pieces of required information are included. If you are labeling a bottle that will regularly go through a glass washing facility, consider using easily removable labels instead of lab tape.

If you need help making a workplace label, contact the WHMIS Compliance Officer.

WHEN should I use Workplace Labels?

If a hazardous chemical has been transferred (decanted, diluted or added to a solution containing other chemicals) from its original container to a secondary container, a workplace label must be affixed to the new container if it is to be kept for more than one day or if multiple individuals will have access to it.

  • A workplace label is not required if the worker who transferred the hazardous chemical will use up the chemical on the same day it was transferred.
  • Non-hazardous chemicals do not require a workplace label. Salt solutions, phosphate buffers and broths would typically not be considered hazardous, and therefore would not require a workplace label. If it is unclear whether or not a chemical is hazardous, please send an inquiry to the WHMIS Compliance Officer so that the chemical can be assessed.

WHY do we have to use Workplace Labels?

R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 860 requires the use of workplace labels as described above.