According to the Key Work Health and Safety statistics for Australia 2022 report issued by Safe Work Australia on 22 November this year, almost 1100 serious claims for workers compensation were related solely to the use of Chemicals and other substances.
An interesting statistic is that the split between male and female is a lot closer than a number of other mechanisms of injury. Serious injuries related to chemical use is approximately 60:40 male to female indicating that this is an issue that is not primarily targeted at industries that are dominated by either sex and is an issue for all.
What is changing in 2023?
From the 1st Jan 2021 to 31st December 2022 has been a 2 year transitional period for Australia to transition from the 3rd edition of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals to the 7th edition (GH7).
As of 1st January 2023, only the GH7 may be used.
GHS 7 introduces several changes to classification, labelling and SDS requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals. The key changes between GHS 3 and GHS 7 are:
- new hazard categories and classes for:
- desensitised explosives
- pyrophoric gases
- chemically unstable gases
- non-flammable aerosols
- updated precautionary statements.
In addition to these changes, the definition of ‘hazardous chemical’ will be clarified to ensure it captures all Category 2 eye irritants. Chemicals can be further sub-categorised as Category 2A and 2B, but this is not mandatory in Australia.
Moving to GHS 7 in Australia will:
- match our key trading partners, who are also moving to GHS 7
- make sure classifications, labels and SDS use the more up-to-date classifications and hazard communication.
What do you need to do?
becoming familiar with the changes that will be required from the 1st January 2023 is a fantastic start and the link below is a 15 minute webinar timestamped for convenience that has been released by Safe Work Australia to aid in achieving compliance.
These changes will impact manufacturers, suppliers, importers and end users of chemicals. Reviewing your business and its obligations with respect to chemicals may be as simple as contacting your suppliers and having a discussion about how they will be adhering to GH7 and then communicating these in consultation with your own workforce.
There is more information available at the Safe Work Australia transition to GH7 website.
How can Big Yellow Safety help?
At Big Yellow Safety® we work closely with you in a consultative fashion to understand in depth your risk exposure in relation to chemicals and assess the most appropriate actions to mitigate your exposure with the practical application of sound and sensible controls that align with your business’ capacity.
When managing the use, storage, labelling and disposal of hazardous chemicals in the workplace there are several Codes of Practice that provide guidance on meeting the legal obligations.
Hiring a WHS consultant such as Big Yellow Safety®, can ensure that you are doing all that is reasonably practicable to reduce risk and create a safe working environment for your employees. Ultimately giving you peace of mind, and allowing you to focus on running a safe and effective business.
If you are unsure whether your business would benefit from hiring a Work Health and Safety Consultant, you can always contact us at Big Yellow Safety® for a 30 minute free consultation. Our safety services cover Gold Coast and Northern Rivers Regions including Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and surrounds.