In Canada, many workers have to handle hazardous products in the course of their work. From petroleum products and pesticides to solvents, each product presents its own dangers.

In order to limit the risks of using them in the workplace, all hazardous products must be identified with a label that contains specific information. Two types of labels can be found on hazardous products: supplier labels and workplace labels. 

In this article, our hazardous waste management experts provide information that will help you understand these two types of hazardous product labels.

Supplier labels

In Canada, suppliers of hazardous products must comply with the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), which require all supplier labels on hazardous products to contain 6 pieces of information arranged in a specific way. 

Information on the supplier label

1 – Signal word

A signal word, “danger” or “warning”, should appear on the label. The word used indicates the severity of the threat. “Danger” is used for high-risk hazards such as skin corrosion, while “warning” is used for more moderate hazards, such as skin irritation.

2 – Hazard statement

Hazard statements describe the type of danger or dangers associated with a hazardous product. They are brief, standardized sentences that have been developed for the various classifications of hazardous products.

For example, a hazard statement on the container of a strong pesticide might read “Fatal if ingested”.

3 – Pictograms

Pictograms on supplier labels must be presented as a black symbol on a white background within a red square set on one of its points. An example is pictured below.

The exception is biohazardous infectious materials, which must be represented as a black symbol on a white background within a black circle.

4 – Precautionary statement

This section of the supplier label describes, in a few sentences, measures to be taken to prevent or mitigate the adverse effects of exposure to the product during storage, handling or use.

5 – Product identifier

Supplier labels must indicate the brand name, chemical name, common name, generic name or trade name of hazardous products in order to ensure that they are easily identifiable.

6 – Initial supplier identifier

This section must include the name, address and telephone number of the hazardous product’s manufacturer or importer.

Presenting the information on the supplier label

According to the HPR (Hazardous Products Regulations), the pictograms, signal word and hazard statement must all appear on the supplier label. 

In Canada, suppliers must also ensure that the information found on their labels is available in both official languages—English and French. They can either use bilingual labels or place two different labels on the container, one in each language.

Workplace labels and signs

Unlike supplier labels, workplace labels are made by employers. However, their purpose is the same—to reduce the risk of incidents involving hazardous products in the workplace. Therefore, they need to be prepared carefully and updated regularly.

Content included in workplace labels and signs

1 – Product name

The workplace label must include the name of the product as it appears on the safety data sheet (SDS). 

2 – Safe handling precautions

The label must include safe handling precautions and guidelines for prevention, intervention, storage, and disposal.

3 – Reference to the product’s safety data sheet

If there is a safety data sheet available for the hazardous product in question, the workplace label should mention it and can even invite readers to consult it.

Replacing and updating labels

When a workplace label is lost, destroyed or illegible, the employer must immediately replace it with a new label that contains the same information.

In the event that important new information about a hazardous product comes to light, the employer must amend the label accordingly within 180 days and notify workers of the change. 

When are workplace labels needed for hazardous products?

There are several circumstances that require employers to create a label and place it on a hazardous product:

  1. When a hazardous product used or handled in the workplace has no supplier label but is required to have one (Note that if the hazardous product is simply being stored, the employer can start by posting a sign that contains the same information as the workplace label and meets signage and sign maintenance requirements until such time as a label can be placed on the product) 
  2. When a hazardous product obtained from a supplier has a label on the inside container that is no longer visible through the outer container under normal storage and handling conditions
  3. When a hazardous product obtained from a supplier does not have a supplier label and has been removed from its outer container, which has a label that meets the requirements of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations
  4. When a hazardous product is received from a supplier in bulk without packaging
  5. When a hazardous product is manufactured in the workplace

Note that there are exceptions to these requirements, such as when products are transferred from one container to another.

Let EBI Enviro Urgence take care of your hazardous waste

Now that you know more about hazardous product labelling, you may have a better understanding of just how complex hazardous waste management can be. From manufacturing and transportation to disposal, everything is carefully regulated in order to prevent work accidents and environmental disasters.

If you are looking for a way to dispose of your hazardous products in compliance with regulations, put your trust in EBI Enviro Urgence. You can rest assured that your company’s dangerous goods (liquids, solids, containers, etc.) will be handled with care and will no longer pose any risk to the environment or the population.