What concoctions lurk in your workplace?
Hazardous substances, mixtures and articles can be found in most workplaces and are at the forefront of World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April.
Chemical use is widespread such as photocopier toner in offices, bonding agents in nail salons, dyes in hairdressing salons, pharmaceuticals in hospitals, pesticides in horticulture, paint on construction sites or oil at petrochemical plants.
Australia is currently transitioning to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS harmonises the communication of hazard information.
Australia has until the end of 2016 to switch over to the GHS. Currently chemicals can be classified under the GHS or the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances and the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).
The GHS is included in the model Work Health and Safety Regulations, which state that manufacturers and importers of chemicals supplied to a workplace must correctly identify and classify chemicals according to the 3rd Revised Edition of the GHS. However, some differences exist between the regulations and the GHS; for example, in the regulations in schedule 6, Classification of Mixtures, the tables replace some of the tables in the GHS.
As chemicals are found in every workplace, all organisations, not just manufacturers and importers, should be familiar with the language used to communicate chemical hazards.
Published on 23 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.