Here are some frequently asked questions about having dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
chemicals in the workplace
A hazardous chemical is a substance that is classified as a hazardous chemical by the Globally Harmonised System for Identification and Labelling of chemicals (commonly known as the GHS).
Hazardous chemicals have the potential to cause significant harm to people, property and the environment if not managed correctly. Incidents with Hazardous chemicals can include fire, explosions, release of corrosive or toxic chemicals, skin burns, eye damage, cancer, lung damage and death.
Section 2 of a products Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will identify if the product is a hazardous chemical.
A chemical register is a list of hazardous chemicals at the workplace and a copy of the product suppliers SDS.
If a product is identified as a hazardous chemical in Section 2 of its SDS then it needs to be on the chemical register. Our video on “What needs to be on a Chemical Register” will provide you with more information.
Before choosing a storage location review the products SDS for recommended storage conditions and incompatible chemicals, you can also refer to a dangerous goods incompatibility chart to provide you with some guidance. See our video “How to safely store dangerous goods” to find out more.
Spill kits can contain loose absorbent materials (powders) and absorbent pads and booms, each of these materials are used differently. Loose absorbents are poured carefully around the spill then gently swept on to it with a broom. Absorbent pads and booms can be placed in the spill or in the spills path and allowed time to absorb. Take a look at our video “How to use a spill kit” to see how to use a loose absorbent.
Placarding is specific signage at workplace entrance and hazardous chemical storage area. This signage is required by law when quantities of different types of hazardous chemicals are exceeded at the site. The sign required at entrances will read “HAZCHEM” and the signs at the storage locations will differ depending on the type of hazardous chemical and how it is stored.
By law when higher quantities of different types of hazardous chemicals are exceeded at the site your WHS/OHS Authority will need to be officially notified. You will also be required to develop an emergency manifest and consult your State Emergency Services when preparing your site emergency response plan.