Most manufacturing and service businesses use some sort of chemical consumable in their workplace.
Whether hazardous or not, these require safe storage and handling in a compliant framework overseen by Safe Work Australia.
Compliance with WHS laws regarding chemicals in the workplace shouldn’t be overwhelming. Fingertens is here to assist you and your staff on your path to understanding your obligations.
This is a complicated topic and what follows below is not meant to be a complete document but rather a starting point, outlining a series of simple tips for managing chemicals used in your workplace.
First and foremost, all chemicals should be supplied in clearly labelled containers.
Labels should include the product identifier (The Name), and if required, a consistent and correct classification, illustrated by a hazard pictogram and supported with a hazard statement and first aid statements.
It is impossible for your business to be compliant if products are poorly labelled or labels are damaged.
To that end, we can supply a PDF copy of any product label on request. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses are required to have access to a copy of the Safety Data Sheet for all chemicals stored on site.
Fingertens makes this easy for customers by providing up to date copies of all relevant SDSs at https://www.fingertens.com.au/safety-data-sheets/ .
We recommend that you download, print and file a copy in your “Chemical Register” (see below) of all relevant SDSs for Fingertens products you store on site.
All sections of an SDS are important, so when taking delivery of a chemical for the first time, you should read through the relevant SDS.
We advise you download the “Understanding Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals” fact sheet from the Safe Work Australia website as a starting point. Take some time to read an SDS and cross check with the fact sheet.
At a minimum familiarise yourself with:
SECTION 2. HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION.
This section includes a hazard summary as well as first aid responses.
Here is a Link to GHS pictograms explaining their meanings.
SECTION 7. HANDLING AND STORAGE
SECTION 10. STABILITY AND REACTIVITY
Chemicals need to be stored correctly. It is worth familiarizing yourself and your staff with the “Managing risks of storing chemicals in the workplace” pdf published by Safework Australia. Pay particular attention to section “4.3 Separating incompatible chemicals.”
All businesses are required to keep an “up to date” register of hazardous chemicals on site. There is a helpful chemical register template available on the Safework Australia website which can be downloaded from here.
A hazardous chemicals register is a list of hazardous chemicals at a workplace and should include a current SDS for each of the chemicals listed.
Safe Work Australia have produced a table which shows placard and manifest storage threshold quantities of hazardous chemicals. Click here to view.
If you are storing chemicals that exceed these thresholds emergency services require you have produced a “hazardous chemical manifest” and a “site plan.” Click the links to view templates and examples.
The Safework Australia website is the best resource for keeping up to date with your responsibilities as a business when it comes to the storage of chemicals on site. We recommend you subscribe to their updates. This can be found at the bottom left of their homepage.
If you need any assistance with your chemical compliance responsibilities please contact Fingertens on 1300 855 273 and we will be happy to assist you.
All content in this article, including links is intended as information only and should not be a substitute for professional advice.
Do not rely on information in this email as an alternative to professional advice from a qualified Occupational Health & Safety Officer.
We strongly advise consultation with a qualified Occupational Health & Safety Officer for any questions regarding the safe storage and handling of chemicals in the workplace and you should not disregard professional advice because of something you read in this email or linked material.