These 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.

Examples of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects include:

  • toxic chemicals
  • chemicals that cause skin damage
  • carcinogens.

Examples of chemicals that can immediately injure people or damage property include:


  • flammable liquids
  • compressed gasses
  • explosives.

Work health and safety duties

If you are a business, you have specific duties under the model WHS Regulations to manage the risks to health and safety associated with using, handling, generating and storing it at a workplace. These include:

  • Ensuring correct labelling of containers and pipework, using warning placards and displaying safety signs.
  • Maintaining a register and manifest (where required) of it and notifying the regulator if you store manifest quantities of it.
  • Identifying any risk of physical or chemical reaction of it and ensuring their stability.
  • Ensuring workplace exposure standards for hazardous chemicals are not exceeded.
  • Providing health monitoring to workers (if relevant).
  • Providing information, training, instruction and supervision to workers.
  • Providing a spill containment system for hazardous chemicals if necessary.
  • Obtaining the current SDS from the manufacturer, importer or supplier of the chemical.
  • Controlling ignition sources and accumulation of flammable and combustible substances.
  • Providing fire protection equipment, firefighting equipment and emergency and safety equipment.
  • Provide a copy of your emergency plan to the primary local emergency services organisation if the quantity of a class of hazardous chemical at your workplace exceeds its manifest quantity.
  • Ensuring the stability and support of containers for bulk hazardous chemicals, including pipework and attachments.
  • Ensuring hazardous chemical storage and handling systems are decommissioned correctly.
  • Notifying the regulator as soon as practicable of abandoned tanks in certain circumstances.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/chemicals

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