Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

About Labels

Symbol Classification
PPE Symbols

Supplier label

A "supplier" is anyone who manufactures, processes, packages or imports controlled products. The supplier is obligated to provide package labelling and MSDS's. The "supplier label" will have the following seven categories of information:

  • Product Identifier
    The product name or number must be identical to the product identifier on the MSDS.
  • Supplier Identifier
    This will include the supplier, manufacturer or importer's name and the location of the principal place of business.
  • Reference to MSDS
    A statement such as "SEE MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET" is required and must appear on the WHMIS label when an MSDS is required.
  • WHMIS Hazard Symbols
    These must meet the regulatory specifications. All symbols will have a distinctive circular border, and must be displayed in a colour that will not be confused with TDG safety marks, such as the orange explosive symbol found in TDG regulations. Prohibited colours are contained in the WHMIS Regulations. Often these are black and white only.
  • Risk Phrases
    Wording which clearly indicates the risks involved when using the product.
  • Precautionary Measures
    Safe handling, use and storage information for the product.
  • First Aid Measures
    A clear description of the immediate steps to be taken in the event of harmful contact with the product.

In addition to the above, supplier labels must also have a distinctive "hatch mark" border, letters, numbers which contrast distinctly from any other markings on the containers.

For "suppliers labels" information must be in English and French, for all seven categories. For containers of 100 millilitres [ml] or less only the following four categories of information need be provided:

  1. Product identifier
  2. Supplier identifier
  3. A reference to the MSDS
  4. Hazard symbols

Workplace label

A workplace label can be put onto a container by a person employed by the firm using the hazardous material and who is familiar with the hazardous material.


The format for workplace labels is flexible, as long as the three basic types of information appear...the product identifier, safe handling information and reference to the fact that a material safety data sheet [MSDS] is available.

The "product identifier" on the workplace label must be identical to the product identifier on the corresponding material safety data sheet.

Information for safe handling states the precautions necessary to reduce health risks or injury. Hazard symbols can be provided instead, as long as workers are trained in the necessary precautions. Risk phrases are also acceptable.

A material safety data sheet [MSDS] should be available and a statement to that effect must be included.

Workplace Labels must be used on:

  • Storage containers of controlled products produced on-site
  • Storage containers intended to receive bulk shipments (unless the supplier provides a label)
  • Portable containers into which product has been transferred by a worker where the container will be used by other workers or for longer than a work shift
  • Supplier containers with illegible labels unless a supplier label is available.


Although not specifically required by WHMIS, the design of workplace labels may include WHMIS hazard symbols for better communication with the workforce and the distinctive border used for supplier labels. The workplace label may be in the language of choice in the workplace. The hash mark border is not required, but recommended

A sample workplace label is shown below.


Extremely Flammable

Keep away from all sources of ignition

Wear butyl rubber gloves and chemical splash goggles


Workplace labels may be in the language of choice (English at TRU)

Requirements for laboratory use

A supplier label of a container that originates from a laboratory supply house and is packaged in quantities of 10 kilograms or less and is intended for use in a laboratory, shall contain:

  • a product identifier; and
  • a statement relating to the MSDS (if available); and
  • the following information that is applicable:
    • risk phrases
    • precautionary measures
    • first aid measures.

Where substance are decanted from the original suppliers container, or produced on site, and the substance is used exclusively in a laboratory, in the normal course of that operation, the other requirements of a workplace label may be waived, provided that the substance undergoing use in a laboratory is clearly identified.

In those cases, where a decanted substance is going to be stored in a laboratory, beyond the normal period of use (i.e. for a long period of time) the standard workplace labels should be applied to avoid any problems.

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