Hazardous Chemicals

How to manage the Work Health and Safety (WHS) risks associated with hazardous chemicals is a relevant topic for almost every workplace and industry in Australia. It is important to remain active on safe cleanup procedures of bio spills and the effective storage, handling, use, and disposal of hazardous chemicals. Hazardous Chemicals are defined under the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations as a Carcinogenic. Specifically it states:

A hazardous chemical is any substance, mixture or article that satisfies the criteria of one or more Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) hazard classes, including a classification in Schedule 6 of the WHS Regulations….. Most substances and mixtures that are dangerous goods under the ADG Code are hazardous chemicals, except those that have only radioactive hazards (class 7 dangerous goods), infectious substances (division 6.2) and most class 9 (miscellaneous) dangerous goods.

What are Carcinogenics?

A Carcinogen is any substance which causes cancer. All carcinogens will be referred to here, as in the workplace, as Chemicals or Hazardous Chemicals. This includes all Chemicals used or generated through workplace activities, such as those used in industry and some areas of agriculture.

The GHS classifies substances as carcinogenic based on the makeup and history of the substance. The below categories of carcinogens apply under the GHS:

  • Category 1A known to have carcinogenic potential for humans (the placing of a substance in Category 1A is largely based on human evidence)
  • Category 1B presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans (the placing of a substance in Category 1B is largely based on animal evidence), and
  • Category 2 suspected human carcinogens (the placing of a substance in Category 2 is based on evidence obtained from human and/or animal studies but which is not sufficiently convincing to place the substance in Category 1).

Who has duties in dealing with Hazardous Chemicals?

Under the WHS Act any person conducting business or undertaking (PCBU) is primarily responsible to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, a safe workplace and the implementation of correct training, policies, procedures on the use, handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals.  The Work Health and Safety Regulations includes specific actions on what a PCBU is required to implement as a minimum when dealing with Chemicals. The Regulations includes details of duties of PCBU, designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers, officers, and workers. If you want to learn more about your duties regarding Hazardous Chemicals in the workplace then please contact us here at RMTO.

Want to Learn how to manage Hazardous chemicals and bio spills?

RMTO has developed a professional course in order to assist businesses in the Safe Cleanup of Bio Spills. The course ensures that workers are given an appropriate level of awareness to risk assessment, and risk elimination when it comes to the use, handling, storage and disposal hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

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