Hazardous Chemicals &
Workplace Health and Safety
Chemicals are used for many purposes and are indispensable in many Australian workplaces.
They can also cause some very bad health effects for workers such as drowsiness, headache, nausea, loss of co-ordination, heart attack, coma and even death when risk controls are not developed and used.
Persons conducting businesses or undertakings have duties under work health and safety law to protect workers and others from risks associated with using, handling, generating or storing a ‘hazardous chemical’ (WHS Regulation, 351).
Hazardous Chemical is a new term brought in with the Work Health and Safety Act.
Old Terminology under the OHS Legislation:
Hazardous Substances & Dangerous Goods
What are Hazardous Substances?
Hazardous substances are substances that can harm your health, and cause long-term illness. Cancer and asthma are examples of long-term illnesses. The health effects are not always obvious - symptoms can take years to develop after repeated exposure. Some examples of hazardous substances are: Solvents, detergents, glues, etc
What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous goods are substances that can cause immediate health risks such as lethal poisoning, fires or explosions. The effects can be sudden, violent and kill or severely injure workers. Some examples of dangerous goods are: Petrol, carbon monoxide etc.
New Terminology under the Work Health and Safety Legislation: Hazardous Chemicals
What are Hazardous Chemicals?
Hazardous Chemicals is a term that includes Hazardous Substances and Dangerous goods and is used in the Globally Harmonised System that is being introduced for chemicals that will be used in Australian workplaces.
This system will be used by manufacturers and importers when designing labels and safety data sheets. Manufacturers and importers have until the 31st December 2016 to comply with the requirements of the Globally Harmonised System.
Duties in relation to Hazardous Chemicals
A person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty to manage risks to workers from hazardous chemicals. This means they need to identify the hazardous chemicals in their workplace, assess the risks, institute control measures and monitor the effectiveness of those control measures. They must also ensure that sufficient information and training is provided to workers about the safe handling, use and storage of hazardous chemicals.
Workers need to take care not to endanger their own safety or the safety of others. They should help management by reporting any hazardous substances that are present in their workplace that they think aren’t adequately controlled.
Available Hazardous Substances, Dangerous Goods and
Hazardous Chemicals Training:
Working with Hazardous Chemicals Workshop On-Site only
This course is suitable to train workers who come into contact with hazardous chemicals (hazardous substances and dangerous goods) in their work.
Risk Management of Hazardous Chemicals On-Site only
This course is suitable for managers and supervisors to train them in the principles necessary to manage the risks of hazardous chemicals (hazardous substances and dangerous goods) in the workplace and is based on the Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice.