Week 2 - Properties of Mixtures and Fluids Using the Particle Model


whmis symbol


Lesson 5: WHMIS

Textbook Readings

Science Focus 8
Pages 25 and 481
Science in Action 8
s 9 to 12

In this lesson, you will be introduced to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). This system is designed to warn all Canadians from hazardous materials in the workplace. You will also compare the WHMIS symbols to those commonly found on hazardous materials in your home.


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Background Information

Open the WHMIS Symbol Chart.

WHMIS is a short form for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. WHMIS is a Canada-wide system designed to ensure that all employers obtain the information that they need to inform and train their employees about hazardous materials used in their workplace. Information is provided by means of product labels, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and worker education programs.

  • WHMIS labels provide the essential information that a person needs in order to handle a particular product safely.

  • MSDSs provide basic technical information about a product's physical characteristics and its hazardous properties.

  • Worker Education is that part of the program that ensures workers are able to apply the information to protect the personal health and safety.

At this point in your school career, you likely be dealing with materials that are safe to handle. However, you should become familiar with the following WHMIS symbols. As you enter the workforce it is very important that you understand how to handle hazardous materials safely.

Online Grade 8 Science Support




Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
The WHMIS system groups hazardous materials into six classes or categories based on the hazard that they represent. Each hazard has it is own symbol. In this activity you will investigate the symbols used in the workplace to identify hazardous or controlled substances.

- WHMIS Symbol Chart
- photographs of various business and industries
- access to the Internet or other resources

1. Draw a data chart, similar to the one shown below, in your notebook.

Business or Industry
Hazardous Chemical
WHMIS Symbol
farming anhydrous ammonia

2. Click here to open the WHMIS Symbol Chart.

3. Study the photographs depicting people in different businesses or industries.

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Gas Station Attendant

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Food Preparation

4. Use prior knowledge, the Internet, or other resources to identify one hazardous or controlled substances that might be associated with each business or industry. Record this substance in your data chart.

5. Use the WHMIS Symbol Chart to predict the symbol that might be associated with this substance. Draw the standard WHMIS symbol on your data chart.

6. Play the WHMIS Game (bottom of page). Match the WHMIS symbol to the appropriate description. The game has 4 levels. Answer the question correctly at the end of a level to advance to the next one. Review the symbols before you start:

WHMIS Symbols


Exercise 2.1

Check Your Understanding


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