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The Power of a Question

Written by: Rob Hallsworth

Published on: 22 August 2017

A Leader in any organization can quickly demonstrate to others what is important by asking a question. No matter how complex the issue, process or problem, a simple question asked of the right people will provide valuable insight as to how the organization is dealing with the situation.

The following 3 questions are examples of who and what a Leader could ask about WHMIS and the organizations handling of hazardous chemicals.

A Good Question

Asked of the Senior Operating Leader – “How are we doing with compliance to the WHMIS regulations?”

Who would probably get a response something like this – “We have assigned resources to keeping all our sheets up to date and all employees have access to the data sheets and have taken on-line WHMIS education including a written test which they must pass”.

From this you know that your direct reports are aware of WHMIS and have taken steps to comply with the legislation. You don’t know if this work is effective and ensures that people are working safely.

A Better Question

Asked of a Front Line Supervisor – “Are employees properly trained in handling hazardous chemicals?”.

This response could be along the following lines – “Everyone has been trained and I reinforce the training in tool box meetings and in my one-on-one conversations.”

It would be good to hear from the Front Line that they are reinforcing the training, but it is not clear from this question if employees are getting and following the right information.

The Best Question

Asked of a Chemical Handler – “How do you know what gloves to wear when handling this bottle of Methanol?”

If their response is “We wear nitrile gloves, which we dispose of after every use. That information was part of our training and is also displayed on the department glove chart which is posted on the safety board” – you know that your organization has taken the complex information within your WHMIS program and turned it into simple, actionable statements that Chemical Handlers can access and follow.

Contact us if you have any questions and continue to read our blogs for more tips and tricks on sound chemical management!



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SDS RiskAssist is brought to you by award-winning Rillea Technologies, an Ontario-based company that uses the power of technology to give employers control and understanding over the otherwise pervasive and worrisome use of chemicals. SDS RiskAssist ensures workers know why chemicals are being used, what their benefits and hazards are and how to use them safely! RilleaTech’s 10-step chemical management process guides employer action to mitigate their risk and ensure workers have the right knowledge to prevent harm. Workers can access this knowledge via mobile or desktop devices as often as needed, from anywhere in the world. SDS RiskAssist is the winner of 2018 and 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine; the 2019 Innovation Guelph Startup of the Year Award; the 2019 Quinte Business Achievement Award (Trailblazer category) and The Ottawa Network’s 2020 Bootstrap Award (SaaS category). Rillea Technologies supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with our clients to take action for a sustainable planet.

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