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The mandatory role of chemical exposure standards in Australia is under review.

Safe Work Australia has recently released the discussion paper, The role of chemical exposure standards in work health and safety laws. The paper examines how the exposure standards could be reviewed.

Exposure standards set the airborne concentrations of chemical substances in worker’s breathing zones. Currently the standards are mandatory in all jurisdictions, the paper notes.

“Australia’s workplace exposure standards were first adopted from the standards set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) in the 1980s by the National Health and Medical Research Council,” the paper states.

“They were first published by Safe Work Australia’s predecessor the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) in 1990. About 80 of the 644 standards were updated between 1995-2005 by NOHSC; however, the vast majority have not been updated since they were adopted.”

The paper is seeking feedback on the following: how exposure standards are currently used; the impact exposure standard compliance has on business and workers; the role exposure standards should have in the regulatory framework; and the processes that should be used to review and maintain Australia’s exposure standards.

Submissions close 5.30 pm on 18 December 2015.

For more detail, visit the paper

Published on 19 November 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today


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