Major changes to OH&S requirements are here and GreenTag is ready for the legislative requirements that have been introduced in Australia with respect to the new legislative requirement for classification and labelling of chemicals under the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) originally developed by the United Nations.
The use of the GHS is now mandatory from January 1st, 2017, having been announced in 2012 by the Safe Work Australia and introduced into Global GreenTag Standards commencing also in 2012 and has consequently played some small part in helping to establish the use of GHS in the market since – just as it also has in the development and growth of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) and a soon to be announced new declaration, currently under wraps.
In terms of chemical classification and labelling under the new look GHS, GreenTag is ready.
GreenTag product assessment procedures are aligned to the new system, which applies to all workplace hazardous chemicals in NSW, ACT, QLD, SA, TAS, NT and Commonwealth systems under the GHS and the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations and their Hazardous Substances Information System.
GreenTag product assessors, whose job is to rate products with careful consideration of any chemical risks in products under certification, gladly welcome the new GHS system – for its clarity and opportunity to increase demands for transparency and greater product disclosure.
The new GHS system provides enhanced criteria by which to classify hazards, including risk of hazards pertaining to human health, such as carcinogenicity, risks to the environment , such as toxic release to waterways and of course physical hazards – a pertinent category, especially in light of the urgent need in recent years in the Australian building industry that has seen a number of fire outbreaks, due in part to flammability in the chemical components in sub-par and uncertified materials.
Under the GHS new system, all manufacturers, importers, suppliers and users of hazardous chemicals will be required to observe legislative requirements to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace. This will include ensuring the safe use, handling and storage of chemicals, as well as specific duties under the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.
Under the GHS there are nine new Hazard Pictograms:
In plain text contexts, the GHS uses the words ‘Danger’ and ‘Warning’ as signals to indicate the relative level of severity of a hazard. ‘Danger’ being used for more severe or significant hazards, with ‘Warning’ being used for less severe hazards.
Hazard and Precautionary Statements
Hazard Statements are assigned to a class and category that describes the nature of the hazards of a substance, including where appropriate, the degree of hazard, e.g. the hazard statement ’Toxic if swallowed’ is the Hazard Statement for Acute Toxicity category 3 (Oral).
Precautionary Statements describe the recommended measures that should be taken to minimise or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical. The GHS precautionary statements cover prevention, response, storage and disposal.
Hazard and precautionary statements replace the ‘Risk’ and ‘Safety’ phrases required under previous laws.
For more information, see the classification and labelling for workplace hazardous chemicals poster
READ MORE IN FULL the article in Sourceable by David Baggs, CEO of GreenTag who expands on the new changes for Australia. https://sourceable.net/new-ohs-chemical-classification-system-launches-in-oz/