Has your business made these changes for the GHS?

Chemical Safety International

Wednesday, 24 June, 2015


Businesses that deal with chemicals, from transporters to suppliers to manufacturers and users, will be impacted by the introduction of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) that officially comes into effect in Australia on 1 January 2017.

The GHS is a set of internationally agreed upon recommendations regarding chemical classification and hazard communication through labelling and safety data sheets (SDS).

The majority of changes and impact to Australian businesses, however, will be felt prior to the official introduction of the new GHS. Chemical Safety International says businesses will need to spend time and money to prepare their operations to meet GHS compliance standards before 2017.

“For a smooth transition to the GHS system, it is imperative that you conduct a GHS ready audit, so you know what needs to be done and when,” said Shawn Samuel, CEO of Chemical Safety International.

“This will reduce the stress later on and set up your business as a GHS leader.”

Businesses are encouraged to consider the following:

  • Labels must be reconfigured.
  • New stock will need to be ordered.
  • Old stock will need to be removed from sites and ordering systems.
  • Containers will need to be relabelled with the new GHS label stock
  • Changes to placards and safety signs will have to be implemented.

To also ensure the safety of the workforce, risk assessments will need to be reviewed in light of the GHS system. Staff training, induction processes and documentation must be updated, and emergency plans will need to be revised and prepared in light of the new standards.

“It is crucial that businesses do not wait for their competitors to implement the changes,” said Samuel.

“Implementation plans need to be created and re-authoring of SDS should commence sooner rather than later.

“Workplace training sessions should start, educating staff on the GHS systems and their role in the transition,” he added.

It is important businesses are also aware that the GHS does not replace the ADG Code. According to Safe Work Australia, compliance with the ADG Code and relevant state and territory transport laws must be ensured for the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail.

For more information, visit Safe Work Australia here or Chemical Safety International.

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