WH&S Update to Hazardous Chemical Regulations – staying informed

March 29th saw the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (ACT) regulations commence that detail requirements to comply with the Globally Harmonised System for Classification and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals (GHS).  Essentially, these requirements relate to the usage, handling and storage of hazardous chemicals.

The following Codes of Practice for the ACT are now adopted to comply with the new reforms;

  • Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals
  • Managing risks of hazardous chemical sin the workplace
  • Preparation of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals

The codes identify ways to help manage your workplaces, particularly in labs, workshops and wherever pesticides/cleaning products are located.  Below are some relevant points from the codes. Please  familiarise yourself with them and their particular application to your school environment.

Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals

  • If a product is used in household quantities and/or in its original labelled form you are not required to do anything.
  • If you decanter the substance from its original container for storage purposes you are required to follow the guidelines
  • It is important that the container the substance is in is only used for that purpose

Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace

This code of Practice discusses various responsibilities  of the PCPB (person conducting place of business – the school). These include appropriate labelling of chemicals, identifying and managing risks associated with the hazardous chemicals, implement processes to monitor the health of those exposed to the hazardous substances, provide training and supervision, provide PPE (personal protective equipment) and develop and implement a response plan in the case of an emergency.

Example of such a hazard may be the emission of toxic fumes released during welding

Preparation of safety data sheets (SDS) for hazardous chemicals (previously referred to as Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

This document provides information on the properties of hazardous chemicals and their on affect health and safety  in the workplace and how to manage these.  The SDS is developed by the manufacturer or importer of the hazardous chemical.   The SDS will contain information about recommended use, provide a product identifier and other ways it may be identified, any restrictions on its use, emergency contact numbers and emergency first aid treatment. By reading the chemicals SDS you can identify how to  meet your obligations.