Manufacturers, importers, suppliers and users of hazardous chemicals have duties to manage risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This includes ensuring the safe use, handling and storage of chemicals as well as ensuring chemicals are classified and labelled correctly under the model work health and safety laws. The Globally Harmonized System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) will become mandatory under the model work health and safety laws from 1 January 2017. If you work with hazardous chemicals, it’s important you:
- ensure safe systems of work are in place to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace;
- review your chemical inventory and dispose of chemicals which are out of date or no longer used, and
- talk to your chemical suppliers to check you will receive GHS labelled stock.
Users of hazardous chemicals are not required to relabel or dispose of existing stock
It is okay to keep using, handling and storing hazardous chemicals labelled in accordance with a previous labelling code in your own workplace if the product was supplied to you before 1 January 2017. From 1 January 2017, end-users should not accept new hazardous chemical products that are not GHS labelled, e.g. labelled in accordance with previous labelling codes. If you are a manufacturer, importer or supplier of workplace hazardous chemicals, it’s important you:
- consider how the introduction of the GHS will impact your business, and
- review your business practices to ensure chemicals supplied to your clients are classified and labelled under the GHS.
For more information about the transition to the GHS visit the Safe Work Australia website and access the following resources:
- Hazardous chemicals including the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS)
- GHS Information sheet
- GHS frequently asked questions
If you are still unsure whether the chemicals in your workplace need to be classified and labelled under the GHS, contact your state or territory work health and safety regulator. Commonwealth government agencies and licensees under the Comcare scheme should contact Comcare.
Safe Work Australia, 25 May 2016 ;http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au ;