BIMs are micro-organisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites), nucleic acids, or proteins that cause or probably cause infection in people or animals. In Canada, hazardous products that meet the criteria for classification in this hazard class must have a nine-heading appendix to the SDS to provide information specific to the biohazard .
There are variations and exceptions that apply to labels and SDSs for BIMs used in the laboratory.
A full supplier label and a 16-section SDS with a 9-section appendix is required when a laboratory receives a hazardous product that is classified as a BIM. This requirement applies to a hazardous product that is only classified as a BIM or that is classified as a BIM and another hazard class. The requirement is the same whether the BIM product was purchased or imported into the lab, or bailed from an owner.
Laboratory workers should be aware that there are Pathogen Safety Data Sheets available for pathogens at the Public Health Agency of Canada website. These PSDSs are technical documents that describe the hazardous properties of the pathogen and recommendations for work involving these agents in a laboratory setting. Note that work involving pathogens in Canada may require compliance with international, national, and provincial laws and guidelines.
The reduced label requirements for a laboratory sample that is sold or imported and is only classified as a BIM are:
- the product identifier,
- the chemical name or generic chemical name* of the BIM,
- the initial supplier identifier, and
- the statement “Hazardous Laboratory Sample. For hazard information or in an emergency call,…” followed by an emergency telephone number for the person who can provide information that would be required on a SDS.
*The generic chemical name may only be used when a claim for Confidential Business Information (CBI) has been filed or granted.
Hazardous wastes that are contaminated by BIMs are still treated as hazardous wastes and are exempt from WHMIS 2016 label and SDS requirements.