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Hazardous chemicals are substances, mixtures and articles that can pose a significant risk to health and safety if not managed correctly. They may have health hazards, physical hazards or both.
Under the WHS Regulations, a hazardous chemical is any substance, mixture or article that can be classified according to their health and physiochemical hazards.
The document "Chemical Management Procedure" (PDF 275KB) contains details regarding chemical risk, manifest quantities and the University control of hazardous chemicals including scheduled drugs and poisons.
Managers/Supervisors in Organisational Units have the responsibility to ensure:
- Induction and Training in Chemical management and handling
- Correct labelling, storage and an up to date Chemical Inventory
- Appropriate procurement of chemicals
- Completion of quality chemical risk assessments and suitable controls
- Correct disposal and transfer of dangerous chemicals.
To ensure safety and health of persons working with Hazardous Chemicals and Dangerous Goods a specific Chemical Handling Induction must be completed before starting work. An online Chemical Handling Induction is provided on the Induction and Training webpage.
Scheduled Medicines and Poisons
Scheduling is a national classification system that controls how medicines and poisons are made available to the public. Medicines and poisons are classified into Schedules according to the level of regulatory control over the availability of the medicine or poison, required to protect public health and safety.
The Schedules are:
|Schedule 1||Not currently in use|
|Schedule 2||Pharmacy Medicine|
|Schedule 3||Pharmacist Only Medicine|
|Schedule 4||Prescription Only Medicine OR Prescription Animal Remedy|
|Schedule 7||Dangerous Poison|
|Schedule 8||Controlled Drug|
|Schedule 9||Prohibited Substance|
|Schedule 10||Substances of such danger to health as to warrant prohibition of sale, supply and use|
The Schedules are published in the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) and are given legal effect through state and territory legislation. The SUSMP is legally referred to as the Poisons Standard.
The Poisons Standard:
- is a record of decisions regarding the classification of medicines and chemicals into Schedules for inclusion in relevant legislation of the states and territories;
- includes model provisions about containers and labels, and recommendations about other controls on medicines and chemicals;
Chemicals which are scheduled can be found in PART 4 THE SCHEDULES, THE POISON STANDARD.
The University holds a number of Scheduled Substances licenses. For further information please contact the Safety and Wellbeing Unit on email@example.com.
The Schedule Substance Handling and Storage Procedure (PDF 150KB) outlines the requirements of the Scheduled Substances Licensing conditions.
Security Sensitive Dangerous Substances
The University's Security Sensitive Dangerous Substances Procedure (PDF 594KB) outlines the safe management of Security Sensitive Dangerous Substances (SSDS) and Chemicals of Security Concern at the University’s workplaces in accordance with regulatory requirements.
The first substance to be regulated by this legislation is Security-Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate (SSAN) because of its history of use by terrorists and concerns about its ready availability.
Please contact the Safety and Wellbeing Unit on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about the use of SSAN.
The voluntary National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern has been developed by Australian governments in partnership with industry to help business prevent potentially dangerous chemicals finding their way into the hands of terrorists.
There are 96 chemicals that are of potential security concern and 11 are considered particularly high-risk because they can be used to make bombs. The Security Sensitive Dangerous Substances Procedure (PDF 594KB) list the 96 potential security concern in Appendix 1 and the 11 precursors in Appendix 2.
Prohibited and Restricted Carcinogens
The University' Prohibited Carcinogens, Restricted Carcinogens and Restricted Hazardous Chemicals Procedure (PDF 309KB) outlines the requirements where there is a risk of exposure to a worker or any other person to any of the prohibited carcinogens, restricted carcinogens or restricted hazardous chemicals.
Appendix 1 lists the Prohibited Carcinogens, Restricted Carcinogens and Restricted Hazardous Chemicals as specified in SCHEDULE 10 of the WHS Regulations.
Please contact your Hazardous Chemical Coordinator, Laboratory Manager or the Safety and Wellbeing unit on email@example.com for more details.
Before purchase and use of the Hazardous Chemical, an assessment of risk to the health and safety must be undertaken. The University’s Risk Management framework and Risk Assessment Procedure (PDF 353KB) must be followed. A specific Chemical Risk Assessment form is available:
The University utilises the Chemical Management System ChemWatch to register all hazardous chemicals that are stored, handled or transported. Key features include the stock holdings module, register of hazardous chemicals, SDS library and printed labels.
Refer to Safe Work Australia Factsheet on Understanding Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for Hazardous Chemicals (PDF 1.7MB) for information on how to read and interpret an SDS.
Note: The recommended browser for this system is Google Chrome. The system will also run using Firefox, Safari and IE9. Using other browsers may cause ChemWatch to function poorly.
Basic level Access
Provides access to search, read and print Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and chemical labels. There is no manifest search capability in this mode.
Login details are:
User Login: EVERYONE
Advanced level Access
Provides full functionality with access to Chemicals Manifest; Safety Data Sheets; Label generator; Review documents and Emergency response information; CREDO (chemical mixture classification and label generation).
To login to your Organisational Unit Level contact your Hazardous Chemical Coordinator or Laboratory, Workshop or Studio Manager for the correct Organisational Unit specific details.
Login details are:
User Login: School/Section specific user login
Password: School/Section specific password
For more information on Chemwatch access the Chemical Management Procedure (PDF 275KB)
For ChemWatch issues or enquiries contact the Safety and Wellbeing Unit on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Health Monitoring Minimum Standard (Under Review) should be referred to when reviewing the controls of hazardous chemical handling.
Health monitoring is provided to a worker if the University identifies a significant risk to the worker’s health:
- because of exposure to a hazardous chemical referred to in Schedule 14 of the Regulations;
- if the worker is exposed to a hazardous chemical (other than asbestos) and either: valid techniques are available to detect the effect on the worker's health; or a valid way of determining biological exposure to a hazardous chemical is available and it is uncertain, on reasonable grounds, whether the exposure is more than the biological exposure standard.
Health monitoring is to be managed in accordance with the Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace Code of Practice and chemical currently listed in Schedule 14 of the Regulations.
Hazards to Pregnancy & the Reproductive System
Hazardous Chemicals in particular exposure to teratogens (substances or environmental agents which cause the development of abnormal cell masses during fetal growth) in the first trimester is the most vulnerable time in the pregnancy and can lead to structural abnormities or miscarriage.
Although most people prefer to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing their pregnancy, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from the WHS Unit and/or your Supervisor to ensure your laboratory activities do not affect your unborn baby.
A risk assessment for all tasks involving reproductive hazards or teratogens must be completed and up to date.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) will aid in the completion of risk assessments, and provides specific information on a chemicals hazards. These are accessed through ChemWatch.
Please contact the Safety and Wellbeing unit on email@example.com for further advice.
Hazardous Chemicals that satisfy the criteria of one or more hazard class within the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be labelled accordingly.
These substances are classified as hazardous as they can cause harm to human health by illness, injury or disease. This can range from immediate short term health issues such as skin irritation or skin burn due to corrosive compounds, through to long term issues such as tumours, cancer or organ damage.
GHS pictograms and ADG class labels are compared in Appendix G of the Code of Practice: Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals. The Code of Practice also includes examples of combination labels prepared for transport and workplace use.
The University’s Hazardous Chemicals, Dangerous Goods and Explosives Storage and Transport Procedure (PDF 439KB) outlines the University’s management of licensed quantities of hazardous chemicals and the keeping and transport of dangerous goods and explosives in accordance with legislative requirements.
Refer to the Safe Work Australia Managing risks of Storing Chemicals in the Workplace and for flammable Liquids, Guideline on Storage of Flammable Liquids for additional information on chemical storage and segregation.
Chemical Segregation Chart (PDF 84KB) according to GHS Classification and Dangerous Goods.
The Handling and Storage of Scheduled Substances Procedure (PDF 150KB) outlines the requirements of the Scheduled Medicines and Poisons Licensing conditions.
Australian Standards provide several standards relevant to Hazardous Chemicals, such as AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories Series:
- Part 1: Planning and operational aspects
- Part 2: Chemical aspects
- Part 3: Microbiological aspects and containment facilities
- Part 4: Ionizing radiations
- Part 5: Non-ionizing radiations—Electromagnetic, sound and ultrasound
- Part 7: Electrical aspects
- Part 8: Fume cupboards
- Part 9: Recirculating fume cabinets
- Part 10: Storage of chemicals
Hazardous 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, Laboratory, Workshop or Studio Manager or the Safety and Wellbeing unit on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Please ensure that all chemicals stored for disposal are still housed using the correct chemical segregation system.
A useful document for the management of clinical, pharmaceutical, chemical and radioactive waste is provided here:
Spills or emergency situations involving hazardous materials can occur at any time.
- Your lab should be prepared by having correct spill kits in appropriate locations, and have trained staff prepared to respond to an emergency situation.
- Depending on the nature of your work you may also need to have specific emergency spill procedures posted on the wall.
- Should your risk assessment identify a need for a specific response (e.g. working with mercury, cyanide, hydrogen fluoride or phenol) appropriate antidotes and clean-up equipment must be available and up to date.
Some laboratories work with chemicals (e.g. HF, Phenol) that require special first aid procedures in emergency situations.
It is essential that you are aware of any special requirements if you work with substances that require immediate access to specific antidotes. You must ensure that required antidotes are available and that you know where they are stored.
Most substances and mixtures that are classed as dangerous goods under the ADG code are hazardous chemicals. Exceptions to this are the radioactive hazards (class 7), infectious substances (division 6.2) and most of the goods classed as miscellaneous dangerous goods (class 9).
The University’s Hazardous Chemicals, Dangerous Goods and Explosives Storage and Transport Procedure (PDF 439KB) outlines the University’s management of licenced quantities of hazardous chemicals and the keeping and transport of dangerous goods and explosives in accordance with legislative requirements.
WorkSafe Tasmania requires that both the driver and vehicle must be licensed when the quantities of dangerous goods transported by road exceed:
- 500 litres or kilograms for a container
- 3000 litres for a single IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container) or total capacity of IBCs, not filled or emptied on the vehicle
- risk category 2 or 3 load for Class 1 (explosives)
Note that no Dangerous Goods can be transported via Australia Post and that transportation may be needed from airport to final destination.
The company Total Freight Solutions is the existing University contractor who will undertake Dangerous Goods packing and transportation.
For any Dangerous Goods transport questions please contact the Safety and Wellbeing Unit on email@example.com.