10:12 pm, Sunday 8 January, 2012
The model work health and safety laws have introduced a new system of hazard classification and hazard communication for workplace chemicals. According to Safe Work Australia, the new system known as Globally Harmonised System (GHS) is “an internationally agreed system designed to harmonise the diverse systems of classification and hazard communication currently being used throughout the world.”
Safe Work Australia says that the introduction of GHS will bring about changes to the information on workplace chemical labels as well as safety data sheets which were formerly known as material safety data sheets or MSDS.
Importers and manufacturers of hazardous chemicals will have to re-classify their products, re-label them and prepare safety data sheets so as to meet the new requirements. However, the changes need not be done immediately. Manufacturers and importers are given until 31 December 2016 to switch to the new GHS system or stay on the current classification and labelling system. All chemicals supplied for use must comply with the new system after 1 January 2017.
More information about the new GHS system is available on the GHS page.