Chemical registers and the new global system of classification

myosh - HSEQ Management Software

By Janine Nicholson
Monday, 13 February, 2017

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A new globally harmonised system for the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) is mandatory in Australia from 2017.

The GHS sets guidelines for the safe production, transport, handling, use and disposal of hazardous materials. Developed by the United Nations, it is seen as a way to bring into agreement the chemical regulations and standards of different countries and has so far been adopted by 65 countries.

It was introduced in Australia in January 2012, with a 5-year transition period, in order to give chemical manufacturers and importers enough time to implement all the necessary changes. GHS applies to chemicals with physical hazards such as flammable liquids, health hazards such as carcinogens and environmental hazards such as aquatic toxicity.

Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter has confirmed that members have agreed to an amendment on the GHS rollout. All chemicals manufactured or imported before 1 January 2017 can now continue to be supplied without having to meet the labelling requirements of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.

Worldwide, countries have registers or inventories for classifying and controlling chemicals. All have regulations which include duties to manage the risks to health and safety associated with using, handling, generating and storing hazardous chemicals at a workplace.

The duties generally include ensuring that a register of hazardous chemicals is prepared and kept up to date so that people can easily find information about chemicals stored, handled or used at the workplace, as well as identifying risk of physical or chemical reaction of hazardous chemicals.

Registers should be readily accessible to workers involved in using, handling or storing hazardous chemicals and to anyone else who is likely to be affected by a hazardous chemical at the workplace. They must be updated as new hazardous chemicals are introduced to the workplace or when the use of a particular hazardous chemical is discontinued.

A safety data sheet (SDS), previously called a material safety data sheet or MSDS, is a document that provides information on the properties of hazardous chemicals and how they affect health and safety in the workplace. myosh chemical registers allow organisations to create this register and upload the relevant SDS for each chemical.

The registers enable the user to:

  • upload and store SDS;
  • record the SDS expiry date and create an action when the SDS should be updated using the link to the myosh actions module;
  • record the chemical classification in terms of CAS number; UN number and hazards;
  • carry out a risk assessment on the chemicals listed in the register;
  • indicate where in the company the chemical is used and the quantities used;
  • learn the health surveillance required for persons handling the chemical, PPE to be worn and other safety measures;
  • clone the chemical record;
  • archive chemical information;
  • use the search function that rapidly finds information on a specific chemical.

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