Products and Services FAQs

The following FAQs provide answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about our many products and services. If you have a question that is not addressed here please contact us.

Applications and Software FAQs


How easy is it to write a WHMIS-and/or OSHA-compliant SDS?

CCOHS has found there to be a very short learning curve (literally a few hours) and experienced SDS authors can quickly produce an accurate, complete, WHMIS- and/or OSHA-compliant SDS in a very short time with the added bonus of a tremendous cost savings for French translation.

How can I see CANWrite in action?

Key information on CANWrite is available at:

CCOHS provides a free web-based presentation (webinar) highlighting features of the software. We encourage everyone to take CANWrite – The Guided Tour, which is available from this web page. Once you have seen the webinar, give us a call at 1-800-668-4284 or e-mail to arrange for a personalized demonstration of the software with one of our content specialists.

I am really happy to see the French language translation feature. Will CANWrite phrases be offered in other languages?

CANWrite can produce SDSs in English, French and Spanish. Other languages may be offered in the future depending on client demand.

I am new to writing SDSs. Can CANWrite help me get started?

CANWrite contains a wealth of information in the software help. CANWrite provides tips, helpful resources and information on how to complete each SDS data field, section-by-section. The CANWrite authoring order was designed to facilitate the logical, step-by-step authoring of SDS content.

Can I author a joint Canadian/US compliant document?

Yes. CANWrite’s system has been designed so that you can write a WHMIS 2015/ HCS 2012 compliant safety data sheet in the same document.

Does CANWrite produce a document that is fully compliant with GHS?

Yes, you can produce a document that meets the minimum information requirements of WHMIS 2015, HCS 2012 and/or the GHS “purple” book.

How will CANWrite help me write an OSHA HCS 2012 or WHMIS 2015 compliant SDSs?

Aimed at small to medium-sized chemical manufacturers and suppliers in Canada and the US, the CANWrite authoring solution features:

  • A detailed classification worksheet
  • An Audit tool which checks for WHMIS 2015 or HCS 2012 required information on the SDS.
  • Automatic suggestions of required WHMIS 2015 or HCS 2012 label text based on the hazard classification
  • Built-in logic that links key hazards to appropriate hazard controls
  • An Acute Toxicity Estimate (ATE) calculator.

Can I customize my SDSs using the CANWrite software?

There are several ways that you can customize your SDS, as follows:

  1. You can add your own company logo, manufacturer/supplier and emergency contact information to your SDSs.
  2. You can add customized field labels in several SDS sections (e.g. Regulatory Information, Exposure Guidelines and Physical and Chemical Properties).
  3. You can add custom phrases and free text content to your SDSs.
  4. Data fields left blank will not appear on your SDS.

Does CANWrite support the inclusion of NFPA or HMIS ratings?

CANWrite has the option to include numerical NFPA Ratings. It currently does not provide the facility to include the NFPA graphical diamond.

CANWrite does not currently provide for HMIS, but it can be added into one of the customizable fields offered within the software.

CCOHS will be working closely with users to develop additional tools and features that they value. Addition of the NFPA graphical diamond and/or HMIS data fields can be provided if there is sufficient interest.

Can I auto-populate my SDS based on ingredients?

In order to help you efficiently write and maintain your SDSs, CANWrite will automatically populate and update occupational exposure limits, carcinogenicity, acute toxicity, and aquatic toxicity information from your Ingredient Sheets into relevant SDSs. For other sections, we have implemented other powerful features that give you quick, integrated access to your ingredient information from within the SDS that you are authoring. For example, you can elect to have information from Section 11 – Toxicological Information pushed from your Ingredient Sheet(s) into the corresponding free text field in Section 11 of your SDS. You can also easily copy and paste selected ingredient information and information from the valuable resources provided in the CANWrite resources window into your SDS.

Can I print GHS labels based on my SDS?

Yes, on the GHS view of the software, you are able to generate a simple label in a PDF form.

How often does CCOHS update toxicity data and other information in its online databases?

Each database record contains currency information as to when the data was last updated. For example, in CHEMINFO there is the Revision/Preparation Date as well as Revision Indicators at the end of each record. These dates will guide you as to when the information was last updated. CCOHS processes database updates on a quarterly basis.

The regulatory and advisory information (e.g. IARC carcinogenicity status) that is provided with CANWrite is updated as quickly as possible after new information data is published.

What database engine do I require to run CANWrite?

The database engine used is Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Express Edition. SQL Server will install on your computer during the CANWrite installation if you do not currently have SQL Server on your system.

Can I save an SDS as a Microsoft Word document?

Yes, your SDS can be exported as an RTF or TXT document, which are both supported by Microsoft Word. You can also export your SDS in PDF and HTML formats.

Database FAQs


Why are your products subscriptions?

CCOHS provides a service to keep its customers up-to-date with the latest information. Chemical and other health and safety information changes rapidly and new records and updated records are frequently added to the databases. To ensure that only the most recent information available is used, most databases are updated every three months, with some Web databases updated on a monthly basis.

The purchase of a subscription is not the same as purchasing a book. Clients are subscribing to the information on a current basis, and after the subscription expires, so does their access to the information.

Receiving regular updates helps you stay aware and in compliance!

What are the benefits of subscribing to CCOHS services?

As a subscriber to CCOHS' electronic products you receive many benefits, including unlimited client and technical support by phone, fax, or e-mail, and our quarterly user newsletter, Liaison. Monthly update notices are sent to subscribers of the Legislation services.

CCOHS is committed to providing information and services that will help you reduce or eliminate workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Our money-back guarantee on all subscription products gives you the added assurance that we're here to serve you!

How do I subscribe?

Contact us so we can help you pick the product that best suits your needs! Or visit CCOHS' secure online shopping centre, Shop@CCOHS.

What browser do you recommend for Web access?

We recommend web browser software that supports tables and HTML. View the complete list of equipment requirements.

Can multiple users access the databases?

Yes, annual fees are calculated based on the number of licenses required, ranging from a single license to an unlimited number of licenses.

Can I save the information into a database?

Although CCOHS does not support this function, some users will import portions of information into personal software applications. However, there are conditions for use that prohibit the re-selling of information.

Can I just print/save certain fields?

Yes, some of our products allow you to choose selected fields from the record's Table of Contents.

Do you offer discounts to educational institutions, labour groups, or non-profit organizations?

CCOHS is a not-for-profit organization and provides its products & services at the lowest possible price. However, we do offer an Academic Support Program (ASP) designed specifically for colleges and universities, and a Labour Support Program (LSP) for union/association training centres.

I'd like to evaluate the product before beginning a subscription. Do you offer free trials?

Yes, CCOHS offers free trials on all electronic products. Contact us or fill out the online free trial form.

I want my staff 'up to speed' right away. Do you provide training to shorten their learning curve?

Yes, training can be arranged with one of our Account Managers – in person or over the telephone. Contact us for details.

What is the difference between direct and bibliographic databases?

Direct databases provide discrete information on a specific substance (e.g. for gasoline: physical properties, LD50, fire hazards, environmental effects, safety procedures, etc.).

Bibliographic databases list references and sometimes summaries of reports, journal articles, publications, on a particular topic. Sometimes the topic is a chemical. For example, a search on the subject of gasoline might provide a number of database records which reference printed sources on gasoline or topics related to gasoline (e.g. hazards of underground gasoline storage tanks,gasoline accident reports, incidents of gasoline poisoning).


Which chemical database product is best for me?

MSDS is best for users who need safety data on specific chemical products used in their workplaces (for example, cleaners, paints, glues, laboratory chemicals). MSDS database will provide users with Material Safety Data Sheets on these products.

CHEMINFO provides detailed health and safe handling information on industrial chemicals and ingredients found in products.

CHEMpendium™ is best for users with a wider range of chemical data needs, such as for both workplace and environment safety, or for workplace, transport and emergency response. It contains numerous and distinct databases all searchable by the chemical name or CAS registry number.

RTECS® is best for users who need specific toxicity data on a large number of chemicals. Summaries citing irritation, LD50s, carcinogenicity tests, plus some regulatory data like exposure limits are available for a very large number of chemical substances.

What is the difference between direct and bibliographic databases?

Direct databases provide discrete information on a specific substance (e.g. for gasoline: physical properties, LD50, fire hazards, environmental effects, safety procedures, etc.).

Bibliographic databases list references and sometimes summaries of reports, journal articles, publications, on a particular topic. Sometimes the topic is a chemical. For example, a search on the subject of gasoline might provide a number of database records which reference printed sources on gasoline or topics related to gasoline (e.g. hazards of underground gasoline storage tanks, gasoline accident reports, incidents of gasoline poisoning).


The MSDS database contains supplier Material Safety Data Sheets, in English. Material safety data sheets in French are available in the FTSS database.

How many data sheets are included?

As of December 2014 there were over 233,500 English-language data sheets in the MSDS database; over 122,350 French-language data sheets are in the FTSS database. The databases continue to grow as more and more companies participate in the project.

Can I search by CAS number?

Yes. If the product itself has a CAS number, in most cases, this will be found in the Product Name/ID index. CAS numbers for individual ingredients often appear in the Material Safety Data index. Since many of the data sheets are for chemical products with several ingredients, only a small percentage have product CAS numbers.

Where do the data sheets come from?

Companies (manufacturers and suppliers) who prepare the data sheets and take responsibility for their content and currency provide their data sheets directly to CCOHS In this way, we can ensure that the most current information is provided and that it is updated regularly. MSDS collections are submitted to CCOHS in electronic form, and all data sheets in the database appear word for word, exactly as provided.

Where can I find the lists of companies in the MSDS/FTSS databases?

These lists, with more than 2000 companies, are available from the left navigation bar. Click MSDS by Company (in the sidebar) to view the list of contributors.

Why do companies provide their MSDS collections for the CCOHS database?

Suppliers have a number of excellent reasons to participate in the database. Companies participate because:

  • they have been asked by their customers;
  • participation may reduce the number of requests for data sheets from customers which they must process and mail;
  • participation is seen as a marketing advantage as it exposes their company name, and products, to a broader audience;
  • their competitors MSDS collection is in the database;
  • they have an attitude of "responsible care" and want a wide distribution of reliable information about their products;
  • participation helps project an image of good corporate citizenship;
  • it is a convenient way to provide data sheets for fire departments, hosptals and others who need quick access to the information;
  • the company may use the CCOHS database as a means of accessing their own data sheets; or
  • the company may use the CCOHS database as a back-up for their own central system in case of system unavailability.

How current are the data sheets?

The MSDS database contains only the most recent data sheets available from suppliers. Many suppliers update their collections quarterly, sometimes more often, and updated data sheets are given first priority for processing into the database. Typically, over 60,000 records are added and removed each quarter.

Some data sheets are older than 3 years. Is this permissible?

A 3-year rule applies only to products subject to Canadian WHMIS regulations. Other data sheets may be over 3 years old and still be valid. We contact our contributors on a regular basis and ask them to provide updates for their collections. In some cases, they advise us that their collections are still current, and a note to that effect is entered in the database. Occasionally, collections are removed if the company has gone out of business, or if we are unable to contact them.

There are sometimes several dates present in the MSDS database records; what do they mean?

  • The Date of MSDS in the database record is the date on the MSDS document that indicates when the MSDS was issued, or reviewed, by the company and this is a valid date for WHMIS purposes.
  • All database records contain a "Currency Note", with a message giving the date on which the data sheet was acquired by CCOHS, or stating that the MSDS is provided directly from the supplier's website. This message does not indicate the currency of the data sheet.
  • The MSDS Confirmed Current date in the Currency Note is the date that the company informed CCOHS that the MSDS data is still current. The Confirmed Current Date supersedes the date on the MSDS and is valid for WHMIS purposes.
  • The date at the bottom of each database record is simply the issue date for the database itself, and does not relate to the currency of any database record.

Do you have lab chemicals? Pesticides? Pharmaceuticals?

The MSDS database contains data sheets for all kinds of chemical products -- industrial products, consumer products, laboratory chemicals, paints, petroleum products, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, food additives, etc.

What percentage are from US/Canada?

The proportion of data sheets which originate in the USA cannot be precisely determined but the proportion of data sheets which contain US regulatory information has been established at about 65%.

In addition to US companies contributing to the database directly, many contributors (manufacturers and suppliers) have head offices in the US, but donate their data sheets through their Canadian offices. These data sheets often contain US specific terms such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), DOT (Department of Transport), CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), or CHEMTREC (Chemical Transportation Emergency Centre).

US regulatory terms such as these occur in approximately 65% of the data sheets in the database and these data sheets are most likely intended primarily for use in the USA.

Do data sheets in the MSDS/FTSS database meet US and/or Canada legal requirements?

For US data sheets, the MSDS producer is responsible for ensuring that their data sheets are OSHA-compliant; enforcing compliance is the responsibility of OSHA. All suppliers prepare their MSDS in order to comply with OSHA, WHMIS and Right-to-Know legislation, although some may not be perfectly 100% compliant.

CCOHS does not assess whether MSDS donated to the database comply with any legislation; the content of the MSDS is the responsibility of the supplier. CCOHS accepts MSDS collections as they are donated, and includes them in the database exactly as they are received, with no alteration to the content.

Can I use the MSDS service instead of keeping paper data sheets?

Yes, the Canadian federal government recognizes WWW as an acceptable means of making the data sheets available in the workplace. WHMIS regulations stipulate that material safety data sheets must be readily available in the workplace. This is a good reason to have a subscription to MSDS - it is convenient and current.

What makes the CCOHS MSDS Database different? Why should I use this database when there are data sheets freely available on the Internet?

  • The CCOHS MSDS database is produced under the most stringent quality assurance procedures. We make sure that we only have data sheets from the companies who produce the information and take responsibility for the content and currency.
  • There are many sources of data sheets available these days, and sometimes we're asked to include miscellaneous collections of data sheets in the CCOHS database. However, the quality and currency is often questionable, and we frequently already have more current information in the database direct from the original source.
  • Some other databases contain "MSDS" for non-chemical products, such as pencils, desks, etc, and are not necessarily intended for OH&S purposes. Some contain many, many outdated data sheets, often decades old. Often there is no indication of how, or from where, the data sheets are acquired.
  • Some companies may make their own data sheets available on the Internet for their customers, each company using its own different search engine. If you have many different suppliers it is very convenient, and efficient, to be able to access many collections of data sheets in one place, using the same search software.

As a subscriber, how can I add my suppliers' data sheets that are not currently in the MSDS/FTSS databases?

Most new collections being added to the MSDS database came as a result of the initiatives of users. You are encouraged to contact your suppliers to request them to contribute their data sheets. CCOHS will be pleased to provide copies of our supplier flyer and contributor form to users who wish to contact suppliers.

Can you recommend a MSDS management system to go with your database?

CCOHS introduced a new "MSDS Management Service" on the web in the summer of 2004. This service allows subscribers to maintain data sheets for the products they use, which are in the CCOHS MSDS database, in their own web-based folders. These MSDS documents will be automatically updated and the subscriber notified of changed documents via e-mail.


CHEMINFO is provided on two CCOHS products - CHEMINFO and CHEMpendium™. For more information on these products, also refer to the CHEMpendium™ FAQs. Individual CHEMINFO Profiles are also available, please contact CCOHS Client Services.

Who writes CHEMINFO Profiles?

Staff at CCOHS write CHEMINFO Profiles. Scientists and professionals with expertise in toxicology, human health hazard assessment, chemistry, fire hazard assessment and control and occupational hygiene write and review CHEMINFO Profiles. These highly regarded chemical Profiles are currently an exclusive CCOHS product.

What sources do you use to write CHEMINFO Profiles?

CHEMINFO Profiles are written using rigorous procedures to ensure high quality. The hazard assessment sections (fire, reactivity and health) are written by scientific staff following extensive consultation of original literature, reliable reviews and textbooks. We rely almost exclusively on peer-reviewed, primary scientific data to write the hazard assessment sections in each CHEMINFO Profile. The key original literature is referenced. Some of the hazard control sections, for example Personal Protective Equipment, are written using specific sources which we feel set the industry standard for a particular type of information. Other hazard control sections, for example Storage and Handling, are written by scientific staff at CCOHS following consultation of relevant literature and a complete evaluation of the specific hazards and properties of a chemical.

A list of the textbooks and standard sources we commonly consult in developing CHEMINFO Profiles can be found in the database help. The original literature and other specific sources used are referenced in the bibliography of each record.

Why do you have short and long records?

Short records contain readily available information from sources which CCOHS has identified as being reliable and credible. Therefore, the short records require less evaluation by scientific staff, yet provide good quality, useful information for a large number of important chemicals. Typically, these records contain identification information, physical and chemical properties, occupational exposure limits, methods for sampling and analysis, selected fire fighting information, carcinogenicity evaluations, respiratory selection guidelines, information on resistance of materials for glove selection, U.S. and Canadian transportation information and European Union classification information. As resources permit, short records are turned into long records based on our priority list.

In long records, the hazard assessment sections are completed following extensive consultation of original literature, reliable texts and reviews. The hazard control measures are determined based on the hazard assessment information and a complete summary is written. Development of long records takes more time because the hazards of each chemical are evaluated and summarized individually.

How do you establish priorities for adding to CHEMINFO?

The priorities for CHEMINFO Profiles creation have been established bearing in mind both the volume of use of the chemical in world commerce and the degree of concern people have about a chemical's potential hazards. For example, a chemical like ammonium nitrate is on our priority list because it is one of the top 50 highest volume chemicals sold in Canada and the United States. On the other hand, a chemical like tetraethyl lead has virtually had its use in Canada and the United States eliminated because of concerns about potential health effects. This chemical remains on our priority list because of these concerns and the level of public interest.

Customer feedback also influences the priority records are given. When a high degree of interest is expressed in a particular chemical or chemical family, these records are given higher priority.

How often do you review CHEMINFO Profiles?

Short and long records are up-dated every time the original source material is up-dated, for example annually with the ACGIH Threshold Limit Values. For long records, we have a "current awareness" process in place which allows us to follow recent scientific developments in the literature. If significant new information is identified, we "flag" the affected CHEMINFO Profile(s) and up-date them as soon as possible.

Do CHEMINFO records have exposure limits?

Yes, you will find exposure limits in the "Exposure Guideline" part of Section 8 - Exposure Control. In CHEMINFO, you will find:

  1. Threshold Limit Values (TLV) from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
  2. The Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) from the United States government.
  3. The Workplace Environmental Exposure Level Guides (WEEL) from the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

CHEMpendium™ FAQs

The CHEMpendium™ collection provides complete chemical hazard information for your workplace and the environment in one convenient location.

Why are there so many different databases available in CHEMpendium™?

All of the databases contain complementary on chemical data and were selected for inclusion in CHEMpendium based on the scope of the information they provide. With ever-changing requirements in workplaces, many users need data outside the scope of workplace health and safety, such as transport or environmental data. This collection of databases was designed to meet these broad needs.

What types of databases are provided on CHEMpendium™?

  • Databases focussing on workplaces and the environment
    • CHEMINFO - the best evaluated and summarized database for health and safety, on over 1,300 chemicals
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - NIOSH's most popular print publication in computer format, providing workplace exposure limits and respirator selections in an easy-to-use format,
    • New Jersey Hazardous Substances Fact Sheets - general overview of hazards and safety precautions for 1000 important chemicals
    • CESARS - a unique and comprehensive database with emphasis on environmental toxicity data, containing reports over 50 pages long on chemicals of environmental concern (eg. DDT, Mercury, Lead),
    • HSDB - a source of health, safety and environmental data for 4,700 important chemicals, including medications, food additives, industrial chemicals and environmental contaminants. The records are very detailed with over 100 different information fields (many records over 50 pages in length).
  • Hazard Data, Emergency Response and Transportation Guidance
    • CHEMINFO - the best evaluated and summarized database for health and safety, on over 1,300 chemicals.
    • CHRIS - a guide to hazards and emergency response for 1,300 chemicals from the US Coast Guard
    • Transport TDG and Transport 49CFR contain key regulatory data on transport of hazardous materials in Canada and the USA, plus emergency response guidelines for thousands of materials
    • HSDB® - a source of hazard, safety and regulatory data for 4,700 important chemicals. The records have an emergency or regulatory record format, which includes useful emergency response and transportation information.
  • Canadian Environmental Inventory
    • DSL/NDSL - Canada's environmental inventory, the Domestic / Non-Domestic Substances List contains over 70,000 chemicals.
  • Tool to Help You Locate Chemical Information
    • CHEMINDEX - exclusive directory of CCOHS databases provides one source to identify and locate chemical information. Over 200,000 chemicals are included from up to 20 databases or products

How can I tell if there is information on a chemical in the CHEMpendium™ database?

There is information in CHEMpendium™ for thousands of specific chemicals. You can easily use the CHEMINDEX database to see where information is available within the CHEMpendium collection as well as in other CCOHS databases.

What type of environmental data is on CHEMpendium™?

  • Canada's DSL/NDSL inventory list
  • CESARS and HSDB contain detailed evaluations of environmental information on many chemicals, including human environmental exposures, ecotoxicity values and environmental fate.
  • Transport 49CFR for Marine Pollutants and CERCLA spill quantities for emergency reporting.

How often is Environment Canada's Domestic Substances List/Non-Domestic Substances List (DSL/NDSL) database updated?

The database is updated as amendments are published in the Canada Gazette and are reflected in the next quarterly release of the product. Changes to the inventory are made through the New Substances Program under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA, 1999), a shared responsibility between Environment Canada and Health Canada.

How often is the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) updated?

The NPG database is updated whenever updates are received from NIOSH. Changes to IDLH values, exposure limits or to specific fields across all records are often made each quarter. The current version reflects changes as of February 2009. When a significant change is made (to a large number of chemicals or fields) or when the next print version is released the electronic version will be updated on CHEMpendium™.


What kinds of substances are in RTECS®?

Generally RTECS® includes drugs, food additives, preservatives, ores, pesticides, dyes, detergents, lubricants, soaps, plastics, extracts from plant and animal sources, plants and animals which are toxic by contact or consumption, and industrial intermediates and waste products from production processes. Users will not find Trade Name products representing compounded or formulated mixtures (pure chemical trade name products are listed).

There is a lot of detailed data in RTECS®. Is there a guide to the database where I can learn more about how to use and interpret this information?

The HELP system includes a publication called "RTECS® - A Comprehensive Guide". This document provides information about format, content and policies of the Registry. It can help users to understand the meaning behind the content of each record (eg. the "Mild" category for the Skin Irritation tests means a well defined erythema and slight edema (edges of area well defined by definite raising) and the reason for its inclusion.

What is the difference between RTECS® and HSDB?

RTECS® contains toxicity and regulatory information on over 150,000 chemicals, while HSDB has a wider range of subject coverage (over 100 fields) such as medical surveillance, first aid, emergency response, safety measures, health hazards, etc. for 4,500 chemicals. RTECS® is a better choice if you need toxicity information on a very large number of chemicals, but HSDB is better if you need safety and other related details.


What is the difference between direct and bibliographic databases?

Direct databases provide discrete information on a specific substance (e.g. for gasoline: physical properties, LD50, fire hazards, environmental effects, safety procedures, etc.).

Bibliographic databases list references and sometimes summaries of reports, journal articles, publications, on a particular topic. Sometimes the topic is a chemical. For example, a search on the subject of gasoline might provide a number of database records which reference printed sources on gasoline or topics related to gasoline (e.g. hazards of underground gasoline storage tanks, gasoline accident reports, incidents of gasoline poisoning).


How do I find out which journals are being reviewed for OSHLINE?

The OSHLINE list of journals is available on CCOHS' website and is periodically updated as new journals are identified and others cease publication or change name. To make suggestions for journal titles to include contact us.

How do you decide which documents to include in OSHLINE?

Selection of documents for OSHLINE is derived from the criteria policy used for the NIOSHTIC database. The general selection principles are as follows:

  • materials must be relevant to occupational health and safety;
  • articles should be from peer-reviewed/similar journals representing the subject coverage of occupational health and safety;
  • materials should be English-language or translated into English;
  • materials should have a practical applicability to OH&S (i.e. they should report on research, studies, surveys, methodologies as opposed to fundamental research);
  • not included are: opinions(editorials), promotional articles, equipment descriptions, statistical reports which do not offer conclusions, aquatic, plant & invertebrate toxicology unless related to worker exposure, data sheets; items without permanent value;

OSH References FAQs

What is the focus of the different OSH databases in OSH References?

Each bibliographic database has a different emphasis in coverage:

OSHLINE® provides current references to international literature with an emphasis on peer-reviewed research literature

NIOSHTIC® is an archive database which provides references to international literature spanning over 100 years.

NIOSHTIC-2 provides references to NIOSH published or sponsored reports.

Canadiana provides references to occupational health and safety documents published in Canada, about Canadian subjects, or by Canadian authors.

HSELINE provides references to international references with an emphasis on publications from Europe, including the UK Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive.

CISILO is a bilingual database which provides references to international literature with an emphasis on training and policy materials in many different languages.

INRS Bibliographie provides references to international scientific and technical literature with an emphasis on French-language materials.

PubMed Subset offers current references derived from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service with a focus on biomedical and related topics.

eLearning FAQs

What are e-Learning courses?

e-Learning refers to learning and supportive resources that are made available through a computer. Although there are many definitions and varieties of e-Learning, CCOHS' e-Learning courses are delivered via the web. The courses are user-friendly, with easy features such as a printable notepad, bookmarking, links to supplementary resources, and easy navigation to any section of the course. The programs offer a virtual tour to help e-learners get started and interaction with the course instructor is available for extra guidance.

What are the benefits of e-Learning?

For most working Canadians, learning about occupational health and safety is not only a benefit - it's a legislated requirement. Here are some reasons why many companies prefer e-learning as a way to train their staff, managers and supervisors:

  • People can learn at their own pace, and at their own convenience.
  • No waiting. The training is available on demand, 24/7.
  • Progress evaluation. The multi-user license includes reports on the users taking a particular course, and how well they're doing.
  • Money spent wisely. Every training dollar goes to actual training instead of airfare and hotels.
  • Everyone receives the same information and the same high standard of training.

For a description of the currently available courses, please visit our site at

Are the e-learning courses available in French?

Yes, the CCOHS e-learning courses are available in English and French. For more information on the French versions of the course, please check our web site at

What are the system requirements to take the course?

The minimum recommended requirements are:

  • Windows
    • 1024 x 768 screen resolution or higher
    • 4Mb/s Internet connection or greater
    • 4GB or more of RAM
    • Windows XP or higher
    • Internet Explorer v8 or later, Mozilla Firefox v17 or later, Google Chrome v27 or later
    • Adobe Flash 10.3 or higher
  • Mac
    • 1024 x 768 screen resolution or higher
    • 4Mb/s Internet connection or greater
    • 4GB or more of RAM
    • Mac OS X 10 or later
    • Google Chrome v17 or later

Note: For most courses, you will also need a sound card with speakers or headphones to use the audio features.

I have purchased a single user access to one of your e-learning courses. When will my access expire?

Subscribers to the single-user version of the e-learning courses will have access for 90 days after purchasing the license. For multiple user corporate subscriptions, access is for 365 days.

Having completed my single user access to one of your e-learning courses, I would like to arrange for several of my colleagues to take the e-learning courses as well. What is the best way to proceed?

When two or more people will be taking the same e-learning course, whether in English or French, you could consider subscribing to the courses with multiple user access. This will provide your organization with access to CCOHS' Learning Management System, which will allow a facilitator within your organization to generate reports on your employees' access to the course(s). For more information on specific courses and pricing, please access the list of courses and click on the title of the course you are interested in.

My company is considering subscribing to the e-learning courses for multiple users. Is this possible?

Yes, all CCOHS e-learning courses have multiple and single user pricing. For more information, or to discuss the options available with a corporate subscription, please contact us.

What is the difference between a single seat and a multi-seat purchase?

Single seat purchasers have access to a course for 90 days while multi-seat purchasers (two or more seats) have access for one year. In addition, by purchasing multiple seats to a course, an organization will have access to CCOHS’ Learning Management System. This allows a facilitator within your organization to generate reports to keep track of your employees’ progress on the course.

How long does it take to complete the course?

The length of time needed to complete the course depends on the individual learner. Some people will try to complete the course in one session, where others will take the course over a longer period of time. The estimated time to complete the e-learning courses is indicated in the descriptions of the courses by going to our Web site at and clicking on the title of the course you are interested in.

Is there an instructor available to help me?

Each module has an “Ask a Question” screen that links the learner to an e-mail form. The learner can ask a question that will be sent to Client Services by e-mail for response.

When I register to take an e-learning course, do I receive a manual in the mail?

No, there are no printed manuals available as part of the e-learning courses. You can, however, print various screens from the courses. To print a currently active screen, click CTRL-P (Windows) or Command-P (Macintosh).

Are there any tests in the courses?

Yes, each of the e-learning courses has a final examination.

Will there be any problems if I start taking the exam and have to leave my computer?

Yes, if you start the exam and then leave for 30 minutes or more, the system will time out your session and you will receive a failing grade for that attempt. You will also be timed out if you are in the e-learning course module and leave your computer. To begin again, just log back into the e-learning course.

Do I receive anything when I complete the course?

When you pass the examination, by receiving an 80% grade or higher, a new screen will appear displaying a certificate for successfully completing the e-course. You can print the certificate directly from your Web browser.

What happens if I don't get 80% the first time I take the examination?

If you do not receive a passing grade the first time you take the examination, you will have 2 more opportunities to take the examination. Questions in the examination are randomly generated from a question pool, so you may not get the same questions the next time you attempt the examination.

I have passed the examination. Do I still have access to the course?

Yes, you will continue to have access to the e-learning course until your subscription period expires. Please note that you will not be able to access the examination again once you have passed.

I have a pop-up blocker installed. Will this cause any problems?

Yes. Pop-Up blockers prevent windows from opening automatically. They can be useful to prevent the spontaneous appearance of annoying and inconvenient ads, however, the blocker will interfere with the CCOHS e-learning courses. For information on how to disable a pop-up blocker, please click here.

Do I have to disable popup blockers and if so how do I do that?

For the CCOHS e-learning courses, it is required that you disable any pop-up blockers currently installed on your computer. Listed below are some of the more popular pop-up blocking programs and the steps to disable them.

Internet Explorer Web Browser

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Pop-up Blocker in the menu
  4. Click on Turn Off Pop-up Blocker

Once you have followed the above steps, you should be able to use the e-learning courses.

Firefox Web Browser

To disable popup blockers in the Windows version of Firefox:

  1. Click on Tools
  2. Click on Options
  3. Click on Content
  4. Remove check mark from "Block pop-up windows" option
  5. Click OK


Various Web search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, etc., have a customized toolbar that can be downloaded from their site. In some cases, a Pop-Up blocker is available as part of the toolbar software.

The pop-up blocker may appear as a button on the toolbar that can be turned on and off by clicking on the button. If a button does not appear on the toolbar, you will need to disable it.

To disable the toolbars:

  1. In your Web browser, click on View, Toolbars
  2. Click on Web Features
  3. Click on the name of the toolbar you wish to disable.This will remove the checkmark next to the name.

Legislation FAQs

Canadian enviroOSH Legislation FAQs

What subjects are covered by the Legislation series?

The Legislation series includes a wide range of topics affecting the environmental and workplace health and safety of Canadians. Topics include environmental protection, hazardous products, workplace health and safety, WHMIS, transportation of dangerous goods, workers' compensation, pesticides, noise levels, Canada Labour Code, etc.

Why should I subscribe to a Legislation series product?

The series saves valuable time to identify the information you require, to remain current and in compliance with the most up-to-date, consolidated text of acts, regulations and guidelines for all Canadian jurisdictions. The Legislation series provides information on the legal requirements for your workplace. Information on one or all jurisdictions is available instantly to you; as well, you can print or read the complete text of every document. The Legislation series is invaluable for preparing for critical audits and due diligence.

Why use the Legislation series when I can get legislation for free from other sources on the Internet?

A number of provincial governments along with the federal government now make their legislation available on the Internet for free or at low cost. However, the CCOHS service makes environmental and OH&S legislation from all jurisdictions available in one spot. Users can hypertext link between documents, view/print graphics and tables and easily capture data for downloading. Cross-jurisdictional comparisons are very easy. As well, CCOHS updates legislation as soon as amendments and new legislation are available and you can easily identify "new" and "amended" documents.

How Does the enviroOSH Legislation Service Help Meet Requirements Under ISO 14001?

Since the enviroOSH Legislation service includes the full text of environmental legislation from all jurisdictions across Canada, it helps organizations meet the requirements specified in section 4.3.2 of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Standard. The Monthly Report, which is included with the enviroOSH subscription, helps you to monitor changes made to the legislation so you can implement them in your workplace.

What are Acts and Regulations?

Legislation from the various Canadian jurisdictions includes Acts and Regulations. Acts are bills which are passed by the various parliaments (i.e., receive "Royal Assent"). Acts can either be new (original) Acts or amendments of existing ones. Regulations are laws under Acts, but do not require parliamentary approval (they are executive instruments of the governments). Like Acts, Regulations can be new (original) documents or amendments of existing Regulations.

What do legislative citations mean?


Typically Canadian jurisdictions cite Acts in the same way, by assigning a year and chapter number. Chapter numbers are assigned in the order in which statutes receive Royal Assent in a given year. For example, "S.C. 2001, c. 34" stands for "Statutes of Canada 2001, chapter 34" and indicates that this statute was the 34th statute to be enacted in Canada in 2001.

Some jurisdictions still issue "revised statutes" which simply consolidate the changes made by any amendments since the last revision. Revised statutes are also assigned a year and chapter number, however, the chapter number will often take the form of a letter and number combination based on the Act title and where it falls in the revision. For example, the Canada Labour Code, last revised in 1985, would be cited as "R.S.C. 1985, c. L-2" or "Revised Statutes, 1985, chapter L-2".


Regulations follow a similar pattern to Acts. Annual regulations are assigned a Regulation number in the order in which they are filed that year. For example, "Alta. Reg. 28/2012" was the 28th regulation filed in Alberta in 2012.

Revised or Consolidated Regulations are typically cited in a manner similar to revised statutes, with the year or volume of the Revision and a Regulation Number reflecting where the document falls in the revision. Alternatively, some jurisdictions cite their regulations using the chapter number of the statute that they fall under, instead of a revision year. For example, "R.R.S. c. E-10.2, Reg. 9" stands for "Revised Regulations of Saskatchewan, chapter E-10.2, Regulation number 9".

In enviroOSH documents the original document citation appears directly under the name of the document.

Example (Statutes of Ontario):
S.O. 1993, c. 28 --> original citation

Example (British Columbia Regulations):
Waste Discharge Regulation --> Regulation title
B.C. Reg. 320/2004 --> original citation

How do I search for documents in specific jurisdiction(s)?

When you search using the search window on the enviroOSH home page you are searching the entire legislation collection. To search for documents from a particular jurisdiction, click on the jurisdiction flag on the home page and it will take you to the page for that jurisdiction. Search using the search window on that page to narrow your results to documents only in that jurisdiction. Or, you can use the Advanced Search page. Just check off the specific jurisdiction(s) you want to search.

How do I find the latest amendments in an Act or Regulation?

When an act or regulation is amended, an amendment history is provided at the top of the document after the citation, for example "As amended by: S.C. 2012, c. 19". An amendment history to an individual section or schedule is also indicated immediately after the amended section or schedule.

The latest amendment to the document is highlighted in purple in the amendment history at the top of the document. As well, the amended text is highlighted in purple to indicate where amendments have been applied. To locate the amendments you can scroll down the document looking for purple text, however, for large documents it is easier to perform a "Find" on the document (Ctrl + F) for the amendment number. For example, if the latest amendment is "S.C. 2012, c. 19", click Ctrl + F to search "2012, c. 19" and it will take you to the end of each section or schedule where this amendment takes place. Scroll up to see the purple amended text. Note that amendments to tables are not highlighted in purple.

How is legislation selected for the EnviroOSH collection?

Legislation in the field of health, safety and environment is identified by monitoring official gazettes, legislative web sites and news services of Canadian jurisdictions. Selection is based primarily on whether the legislation has a core occupational health, safety and environmental characteristic. Legislation with peripheral relevance is added on a case by case basis, depending upon the jurisdiction and perceived need.

Legislation relating primarily to fees, or with limited geographic scope is not generally included.

Does the series include the complete text of the legislation?

CCOHS provides the complete text of all acts, regulations, guidelines and codes of practice in the series. As such, the user is able to determine the context of his or her requirements and be certain of comprehensive coverage. In a very few cases, we may include excerpts of the legislation if only one or two sections are relevant to health, safety and the environment. The complete text of such legislation will of course always be available through Client Services.

How can I find out if a particular document is available?

At present, over 4,000 acts, regulations, codes and guidelines are available. Client Services can provide you with a list of legislation in the collection or you can visit the Legislation web site at for a complete listing. If the legislation or guideline you are looking for is not in the collection but you feel it is relevant to health and safety in Canada, please contact Client Services with a complete citation and we will add the document as soon as we can.

Do you have the National Fire Code and the National Building Codes in the Legislation series?

Although these documents are critical to many of the users of the Legislation series, we have been unable to make an arrangement yet with the National Research Council to reproduce them. You must contact the National Research Council directly for print or electronic versions.

I don't need the full national collection - what do I do?

The Legislation series is also available by geographic area - Ontario, Eastern Canada and Western Canada. Each regional collection also contains all the federal legislation since it applies to all jurisdictions in Canada.

How do you keep the legislation information up to date?

CCOHS staff review the latest gazettes from the jurisdictions for the most recent legislation and amendments. Legislation on the Internet is updated daily. Subscribers to the Legislation series receive a free monthly update service listing the progress of proposed legislation, amendments incorporated in the previous month, recently repealed legislation and documents to be added to the collection. Amended text is indicated in purple.

Web Tip: when viewing a list of documents in each jurisdiction you can choose flags to highlight the documents amended or new since:

  • Your last visit
  • 1 month
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year.

A full list of document titles will display - simply scroll through the list to find the NEW and AMENDED flags.

What is the difference between the Legislation series and the Legislation plus product?

The Legislation PLUS Standards service includes all of the legislation in the Legislation series as well as the full-text of standards referenced in the legislation. To date, over 1,000 standards from the CSA Group, the BC Workers' Compensation Board (BC WCB), and the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) are included.

Are Standards available with the regional service?

Yes, standards are also available with the regional collections.

How do you decide which Standards to add?

All CSA Group and Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) standards referenced in the legislation are included in the collection along with any amendments. Standards from the BC Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia have also been incorporated.

Why is the older standard in the database? Is the updated one available?

Standards are cited in legislation in various ways:

  • reference to a standard generally, for example the Canadian Electrical Code,
  • a specific version, "as amended from time to time",
  • or a specific version of a standard in legislation, for example, CSA Standard Z91- M1980 although there may be a newer version.

CCOHS acquires the cited versions as well the most recent version to ensure that all users have access to the most recent information.

Why is a CSA Standard marked as "withdrawn"?

A CSA standard marked as Withdrawn indicates that the product has been withdrawn from active sale on CSA's online store.

This status is used if:

  • The standard is withdrawn and not replaced
  • There has been a change in the product designation, e.g. if CSA A123-1990 is superseded by CSA 2345-2012
  • It is no longer supported by a CSA committee (interpretations, amendments or new edition)
  • CSA makes no claim as to its relevancy with regards to current technologies or practices

Note: CSA makes withdrawn standards available for informational purposes as special orders

Membership Program FAQs

Can I use my discount right away?

Yes. Your membership discount is automatically applied to eligible products and services during online checkout.

Are there any products and services excluded from the membership discount?

CSA Standards, CANWrite, MSDS Management Service and the Small Business Health and Safety Certificate Program e-course are not eligible for membership discounts.

Can I use my membership discount on database subscriptions and e-courses?

Yes, you save when buying a database subscription or an e-course. Note that buying a membership does not give you access to the databases or e-courses themselves.

Do I have to become a member to buy CCOHS products and services?

No, you do not have to become a member to make purchases or to register for an e-course.

Publication FAQs

What topics do your publications cover?

There are currently over twenty titles in our popular Health and Safety Guide Series, as well as other publications on understanding material safety data sheets (MSDS), job safety analysis, and more. View the complete CCOHS Publications List.

What can I use these publications for?

The intent of CCOHS publications is to summarize available information on a given topic or occupation using non-technical language. They can be used to develop employee awareness about safe work practices to prevent risk of injury and illness. As well, the guides serve as a useful resource for training/awareness, posting in the workplace and answering questions on a technical subject in easy-to-understand terms.

Can I borrow them for review and return them if they do not answer questions on a topic?

Most CCOHS print publications are priced as low as $15 each plus shipping and handling. Because of this, we do not lend them for review and there is no return policy. The Table of Contents and sample pages for most of our titles can be viewed on our website to help you determine whether a publication is suitable for your work situation.

How often are your publications updated?

CCOHS publications are reviewed on a regular basis by CCOHS technical staff. Updates are made when there have been significant changes in the information available on the topic and the publication is then reprinted as a new edition number. If no changes are required after review, then the date included in the publication number does not change.

Who writes and reviews your publications?

Publications are written and reviewed by CCOHS technical staff and external subject specialists. Each publication produced by CCOHS undergoes several stages of review. As part of this review, representatives from government, employers, and labour are requested to comment on draft copies of CCOHS documents for technical accuracy and readability.

Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy and completeness of the information, it is understood that CCOHS makes no warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of such information and assumes no liability for any damages or loss suffered as a result of any inaccuracy or incompleteness therein. CCOHS encourages the widest possible distribution of this material.

I live in the USA. Are your publications relevant to my organization or are they specific to Canadians only?

The main focus of publications is to provide guidance for safe work practices that apply to work done in ANY country. In some situations, the health and safety legislation may require implementation of certain specific controls. For this information, readers should consult the occupational health and safety legislation applicable to their workplace.

In what languages are your publications available?

All CCOHS publications are available in both English and French. CCOHS has also worked in consultation/partnership with organizations to produce guides in other languages. For further information, contact us.

Are your publications only available in print format?

All CCOHS publications are available in both print and electronic formats (PDF and ePub).

We would like to customize one of your publications specifically to our organization. Do you offer customization service? At what cost?

Yes, CCOHS can work with you on the customization of our Health and Safety Guides. Contact us to discuss details and cost.

How are shipping/handling charges calculated?

CCOHS uses a base fee per order, and an additional “per guide” fee. Please see the chart for shipping and handling charges to your location.

The cost of shipping Health and Safety Guides is:
No. of Publications 1 2 3-5
Canada $7 $8 $14
United States $8 $11 $18
International $14 $18 $34

To order more than five publications, contact us for shipping charges.

Do you offer quantity discounts?

Yes, quantity discounts are available when you purchase five (5) or more publications. Contact us for details.

I only want to purchase one (1) title – must I pay at the time of purchase?

Yes, prepayment is required on ALL orders under $50. CCOHS accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PO# or cheque.

Are your publications copyright protected?

CCOHS publications are protected by copyright, but permission for non-commercial copying may be provided. Contact us for details.

Need more information on any of our products or services? Contact Us.