GHS labelling now mandatory for hazardous workplace chemicals

The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is now mandatory in NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, and NT.

This system outlines chemical hazards. It does not change general duties for managing hazardous chemicals in the workplace. It only affects hazardous workplace chemicals made or imported after 1 January 2017.

The GHS will most affect manufacturers, importers and suppliers. Model work health and safety (WHS) laws require manufacturers and importers to identify and classify hazardous chemicals supplied to workplaces. Manufacturers and importers must also label them and provide safety data sheets (SDS). Suppliers and end users can only supply and accept chemicals that meet GHS standards. End users are not required to relabel or dispose of existing stock.

States and territories are set to enact the GHS under their own WHS laws.

The United Nations created the GHS is to ensure globally consistent chemical assessment criteria, labels and SDS. In 2012, Australia brought in the third revised edition of the GHS under model WHS laws. A five-year transition period followed.

To find out more, contact your local work health and safety regulator or Safe Work Australia (SWA).

Last update 31 October 2017