This month: Your duties in relation to Labour Hire Workers

A PCBU needs to ensure that all chemicals that are used, handled, stored or generated by the workplace have been identified in consultation with workers.

The identification of hazardous chemicals can be completed by referencing the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) (Formerly Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and the chemical labels.

Manufacturers and suppliers are obligated to:-
Provide you with a Safety Data Sheet as outlined in the legislation at the commencement of this document.
Ensure that the information contained on the Safety Data Sheet and labels are correct.

If there is any concern in regards to the accuracy of the Safety Data Sheet or label, for example the information is different or contradictory, then initial contact should be made with the manufacturer/supplier.
Information on chemicals can also be found in the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) database accessed through Safe Work Australia.
What must Officers, Managers and Supervisors do?

1. Check current hazard identification arrangements.
2. Determine whether they meet the requirements of the legislation and codes of practice.
3. If legislative requirements are not being met, in consultation with workers:

a) Assess current procedures for obtaining SDS to ensure that they are provided for every hazardous chemical and are easily accessible by workers.
b) Determine whether an SDS for every hazardous chemical and for every different concentrate of the chemical is available.
c) Ensure that there is a procedure in place to review and update SDS at a minimum of at least once every 5 years.
d) Determine whether there is an effective process in place for checking SDS and labels so as identify hazardous chemicals.
e) Assess whether there are procedures in place for obtaining hazardous chemical information from other sources, such as manufacturers and suppliers.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

Manufacturers and importers must determine and classify the hazards of the chemical and include the information on labels and Safety Data Sheets.
Check labels in conjunction with SDS and in conjunction with the information sources outlined in Supporting Documentation section to ensure all chemical hazards are identified
Labels

Labels may not always contain all hazard information due to the small size of the label and therefore the SDS should be referred to when identifying chemical hazards and ensuring the correctness of the information.

Hazardous chemicals Generated or Manufactured in the Workplace
In some instances a chemical may not have a label or SDS, for example fumes generated in the workplace from an activity such as diesel exhaust fumes from truck engines.
The risk associated with chemicals produced or generated in the workplace must be managed.

LEGISLATION OVERVIEW

WHS Regulation 2011

S.330
A manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical must prepare a safety data sheet for the hazardous chemical before first manufacturing or importing the hazardous chemical.
If that is not practicable, as soon as practicable, after first manufacturing or importing the hazardous chemical and before first supplying it to a workplace.
The manufacturer or importer of the hazardous chemical must:
Review the safety data sheet at least once every 5 years, and
Amend the safety data sheet whenever necessary to ensure that it contains correct, current information.
The manufacturer or importer of the hazardous chemical must provide the current safety data sheet for the hazardous chemical to any person, if the person:
Is likely to be affected by the hazardous chemical, and
Asks for the safety data sheet.

S.341-343 requires that the Agency ensures that the hazardous chemical, the container of a hazardous chemical or a hazardous chemical in pipe work is correctly labelled.

S.335 requires that the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical must ensure that the hazardous chemical is correctly labelled as soon as practicable after manufacturing or importing the hazardous chemical.

A hazardous chemical is correctly labelled if the selection and use of label elements is in accordance with the GHS and it complies with Part 3 of Schedule 9.

This clause does not apply to a hazardous chemical if:
a) the hazardous chemical is a consumer product that is labelled in accordance with the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons 2011 published by the Commonwealth, as in force or remade from time to time, and
b) The container for the hazardous chemical has its original label, and
c) It is reasonably foreseeable that the hazardous chemical will be used in a workplace only in: a quantity and in a way that is consistent with household use and is incidental to the nature of the work carried out by a worker.

This clause does not apply to hazardous chemicals in transit.

This clause does not apply to a hazardous chemical that:
a) Is therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 of the Commonwealth, and
b) Is in a form intended for human consumption, for administration to or by a person or use by a person for therapeutic purposes, and

This clause does not apply to a hazardous chemical that:
a) Is therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 of the Commonwealth, and
b) Is in a form intended for human consumption, for administration to or by a person or use by a person for therapeutic purposes, and
This clause does not apply to a hazardous chemical that:
a) Is therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 of the Commonwealth, and
b) Is in a form intended for human consumption, for administration to or by a person or use by a person for therapeutic purposes, and
c) Is labelled in accordance with that Act or an order made under that Act.

S.338 requires that the supplier of a hazardous chemical must not supply the hazardous chemical to another workplace if the supplier knows or ought reasonably to know that the hazardous chemical is not correctly labelled in accordance with clause 335.

For further guidance please refer to:

WHS Regulation 2011
Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice
Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice
Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)