This Code provides practical guidance on how to manage the health and safety risks associated with hazardous chemicals for persons conducting a business or undertaking who use chemicals in their workplace.
A person conducting a business or undertaking can be a manufacturer, importer or supplier of hazardous chemicals, or a business owner who uses, handles, generates or stores hazardous chemicals at their workplace.
This Code applies to:
- substances, mixtures and articles used, handled, generated or stored at the workplace that are defined as hazardous chemicals under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations;
- the generation of hazardous chemicals from work processes, for example toxic fumes released during welding.
This Code does not apply to the transportation of dangerous goods, which is subject to State and Territory laws based on the requirements under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).
Manufacturers, importers or suppliers of hazardous chemicals that are used, or are likely to be used, in workplaces should refer to the following Codes of Practice:
- Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals;
- Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals.
If you use, handle or store any of the hazardous chemicals listed in Schedule 14 of the WHS Regulations you should also refer to the Health Monitoring Guide. Where these types of hazardous chemicals are used, handled or stored at or above the prescribed threshold quantities, the guidance material for Major Hazard Facilities should be referred to.
Guidance for work involving asbestos or asbesto-containing materials is available in the following Codes of Practice:
- How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace
- How to Safely Remove Asbestos.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GLOBALLY HARMONISED SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION AND LABELLING OF CHEMICALS (GHS)
The WHS Regulations implement a system of chemical hazard classification, labelling and safety data sheet requirements based on the GHS. Transition to the GHS will occur over a 5-year period from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016.
This Code refers to hazard classes and categories under the GHS; however, it also applies to workplace hazardous substances and dangerous goods classified under the National Commission's National Model Regulations for the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances (NOHSC) Approved Criteria and the ADG Code, respectively. Most substances and mixtures that are dangerous goods under the ADG Code are also hazardous chemicals. Any person conducting a business or undertaking has a responsibility under the WHS Regulations to manage the risks from all hazardous chemicals, including those that are dangerous goods.
HOW TO USE THIS CODE OF PRACTICE
In this Code, the word ‘should’ is used to indicate a recommended course of action, while ‘may’ is used to indicate an optional course of action.
This Code also includes various references to provisions of the WHS Act and Regulations, which set out legal requirements. These references are not exhaustive. The words ‘must’, ‘requires’ and ‘mandatory’ indicate that a legal requirement exists and must be complied with.