Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals
All information relating to the recent amendments to the model WHS laws exempting certain veterinary chemicals from labelling requirements are in the process of being updated on our website. These updates will be complete before 1 January 2017, when the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) takes full effect.
What is a Label?
A label is the written, printed or graphical information elements concerning a hazardous chemical that is affixed to, printed on, or attached to the container or pipe work of a hazardous chemical. For workplace hazardous chemicals, labels include information on the hazards, plus instructions and information on the safe storage, handling, use and disposal of the chemical.
The label and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are important sources of information that may be used to inform hazard and risk assessments in the workplace, and establish appropriate work practices and processes to control the risks during use.
Duties under the WHS Regulations
Under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations, the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical must ensure that it is correctly labelled. A supplier must not supply hazardous chemicals manufactured or imported after 1 January 2017 to a workplace if the hazardous chemicals are not correctly labelled according to the WHS Regulations.
Codes of Practice for Labelling
Safe Work Australia’s Code of Practice: Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals provides detailed guidance on how to label workplace chemicals. This code of practice should be used where the chemical has been classified according to the GHS.
Manufacturers and importers of chemicals are able to continue to use the existing NOHSC labelling system for workplace hazardous substances and dangerous goods up until 31 December 2016. This applies for chemicals which have been classified according to the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances and the ADG Code. Suppliers of hazardous chemicals can continue to supply chemicals after 31 December 2016 that are correctly labelled in accordance with these requirements. However, from 1 January 2017 suppliers should only accept stock with labels that are GHS compliant. Links to labelling documents are provided below.