Chemical management

Risks posed by hazardous chemicals need to be managed appropriately to reduce the likelihood of harm to our people, the community and the environment.

Hazardous chemicals are substances, mixtures or materials classified under a hazard category in the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals.

We use GHS classifications in Australia to communicate chemicals’ properties and dangers through labels, registers and safety data sheets.

For information on roles and responsibilities visit our Safety and Wellbeing procedures

Visit our chemical management system: Chemwatch

Key Principles by Topic

  • Staff and students who need to use chemicals in the course of their work or study must be appropriately trained and complete the relevant induction modules prior to procuring or using the chemicals.
  • You must be familiar with the hazards associated with any chemicals you plan to order. To demonstrate this, please attach a chemical hazard checklist or mini SDS to your purchase order. It is also recommended that you complete a chemical risk assessment in Chemwatch prior to procurement.
  • Consider the hierarchy of controls when procuring chemicals, and consider using chemicals which pose a lesser hazard if possible.
  • Only buy sufficient chemicals for what you plan to use. Avoid bulk-buying wherever possible to minimise wastage and simplify storage requirements.
  • Avoid purchasing separate supplies of the same chemicals for different research groups. Instead, aim to share common supplies within your school or discipline.
  • If you are unsure of what chemicals may be available within your school or discipline, talk to your Facility Manager, Hazardous Chemicals Coordinator or supervisor before ordering more supplies.
  • The appropriate natural account code and justification for chemical purchases must be used within PurchaseNow.
  • ​​All containers, including those of any decanted or synthesised substances, must be suitable for the material being stored, and must be appropriately labelled.
  • A manifest of all hazardous chemicals must be kept and maintained in Chemwatch. Hazardous Chemical Coordinators are responsible for maintaining chemical manifests.
  • An annual stocktake of hazardous chemicals must be completed to facilitate accurate manifests.
  • Do not store quantities of chemical in your lab or work area which are greater than is required for the efficient operation of the laboratory.
  • Incompatible chemicals must always be kept segregated from one another. Consult the Chemical Segregation Chart for information on compatibilities.
  • Dispose of out-of-date or legacy chemicals for which there is no planned use. Check Chemical Management and disposal below.
  • ​Staff and students who need to use chemicals in the course of their work or study must be appropriately trained and complete the relevant induction modules prior to procuring or using the chemicals.
  • A task risk assessment must be in place prior to commencing any work activities involving the use of chemicals. You should plan your work to eliminate or minimise the residual risk to you and your colleagues by implementing the hierarchy of controls.
  • As part of the risk assessment, ensure appropriate equipment such as eye wash stations, spill kits, fume cupboards and fire extinguishers are available to prevent and mitigate risk posed by planned activities.
  • Avoid preparing large quantities of stock solutions or mixtures if you only require a small quantity.
  • Support your Hazardous Chemicals Coordinator by keeping your chemical manifest up-to-date as you use or procure chemicals.
  • Use of some chemicals require the implementation of health monitoring to measure exposure or evaluate the effects of exposure. Safe Work Australia provide details on the requirements for health monitoring. Consult your Hazardous Chemicals Coordinator or the Safety and Wellbeing Team prior to using any of these chemicals to ensure a health monitoring program is in place.
  • Some materials have regulatory implications for possession or use beyond health and safety regulations. These materials include:
    • Prohibited carcinogens
    • Restricted carcinogens
    • Chemicals of security concern
    • Medicines and poisons (scheduled substances)
    • Precursor chemicals
    • Agricultural and veterinary chemicals and fertilisers
    • Radioactive chemicals
    • Engineered nanoparticles

If you are unsure of the potential regulatory implications for your work or for a particular chemical you plan to use, please contact your Hazardous Chemical Coordinator, Research Services, or the Safety and Wellbeing Team.

  • ​Hazardous chemicals should not be procured or used unless a plan for disposal of waste and unused product is in place. This must be incorporated into a task risk assessment.
  • Proper management and disposal of chemical waste requires information about its properties. Users of chemicals must clearly and accurately label all waste containers.
  • Care must be taken to appropriately segregate and not to mix incompatible chemical waste.

Chemical Waste Disposal
The current University contractor for chemical waste disposal is Cleanaway. There are regular collections scheduled at least twice a year.

Please contact your Hazardous Chemical Coordinator, Facility Manager or the Safety and Wellbeing unit at for details on scheduled collections.

Spill Management
Every endeavour should be made to prevent chemical spills, and to control them if they occur. Whenever a spill occurs, clean up should be initiated immediately.

The response for a chemical spill should always be based on the information provided in the SDS and/or task risk assessment. If you are completing a risk assessment and are unsure how to clean up a potential spill, consult the SDS and Section 3.4 of Australian Standard 2243.2 (Safety in Laboratories -  Chemical Aspects and Storage) which is available through SAI Global.

If a spill kit in your work area is missing or needs servicing, please contact your Facility Manager.

Legislation and standards

Acts and Regulations
Dangerous Goods Act 1976 (Tas) An act to regulate the manufacture, keeping, use and sale of dangerous goods.
Poisons Act 1971 (Tas) An act to regulate the import, preparation, use and possession of scheduled substances.
Security Sensitive Dangerous Substances Act 2005 (Tas) An act to restrict and regulate access to certain dangerous substances whose deliberate misuse would constitute a threat to state security and public safety.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and Regulations An act and regulations to provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces. New South Wales Legislation.
Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (Tas) and Regulations An act and regulations to provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces. Tasmanian Legislation.
Australian Standards Available through SAI Global
AS 1894 Storage and handling of non-flammable cryogenic and refrigerated liquids
AS 1940 Storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids
AS 2243.1 Safety in Laboratories - Planning and operational aspects
AS 2243.2 Safety in Laboratories - Chemical aspects and storage
AS 2243.8 Safety in Laboratories - Fume cupboards
AS 2714 Storage and handling of organic peroxides
AS 2982 Laboratory design and construction
AS 3780 Storage and handling of corrosive substances
AS 4326 Storage and handling of oxidising agents
AS 4332 Storage and handling of gases in cylinders