Exemptions for hazardous chemicals in the supply chain
The transition period to comply with Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations for hazardous chemicals classification and labelling ended on 31st December 2016 for suppliers in NSW, SA, Tasmania, Queensland and NT.
Safe Work Australia have announced that chemicals manufactured or imported before 1 January 2017 can continue to be supplied without being re-labelled to globally harmonised system (GHS) per the model WHS Regulations.
What does this mean for suppliers?
Suppliers will not need to re-label chemicals to the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) if they were manufactured or imported on or before 1 January 2017 (e.g. stock currently in warehouses) and were correctly labelled at that time.
Chemicals supplied from 1 January 2017 must have a GHS compliant Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
What does this mean for manufacturers and importers?
There is no exemption for manufacturers or importers. Chemicals manufactured or imported from 1 January 2017 must be correctly classified and labelled to GHS.
What does this mean for workplaces?
Workplaces can continue to accept chemicals without GHS labels but should ensure they are provided with GHS compliant SDS.
Workers should be informed that the absence of GHS labelling such as pictograms on the label, is not assurance that the substance is not a hazardous chemical.
Each jurisdiction will make their own exemptions to the WHS legislation – these exemptions vary from state to state. Currently, exemptions have been made in NSW, NT, SA and Tasmania. See your state or territory regulator for more details.
GHS classification and labelling is currently not mandatory in ACT, Victoria or WA.