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Are you GHS ready? (Media release)

31 March 2016

A new international system of chemical labelling and classification will be a focus of forums being held across Australia by Comcare.

The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is a United Nations initiative that standardises chemical classification, labelling and safety data sheets (SDS) for use in workplaces internationally.

The Commonwealth, some states and territories in Australia adopted the GHS with the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act on 1 January 2012, with a five-year transition period for full implementation by 1 January 2017.

Comcare’s General Manager of Regulatory Operations Justin Napier said the new system would impact every Commonwealth agency and self-insured licensee in the scheme.

“It’s extremely important that agencies and licensees ensure they are ready for these changes,” Mr Napier said.

“To meet the new requirements manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals will need to reclassify their products, relabel them and prepare new safety data sheets.

“The forums Comcare is delivering will deal with some popular work health and safety topics as well as including a session on the GHS to help agencies and businesses understand the requirements for transition by 1 January 2017.”

The GHS changes include using a common set of pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements for labels and SDS to communicate information about a chemical to the user. It covers physical, health and environmental hazards.

For persons conducting a business or undertaking, essential tasks for GHS readiness include:

  • reviewing current inventory holdings for GHS compliant and non-compliant stock
  • allowing holdings of GHS non-compliant stock to run down
  • ensuring all new purchases are GHS compliant
  • reviewing SDS to ensure hazard management practices are in place
  • ensuring workers are aware of the new labelling system and SDS.

The Comcare forums will be held in all state and territory capitals, Canberra and Newcastle in May, June and July 2016:

  • Canberra: 18 May, 16 June, 12 July, 27 July
  • Adelaide: 26 May
  • Sydney: 31 May
  • Newcastle: 1 June
  • Melbourne: 5 July
  • Hobart: 7 July
  • Brisbane: 21 June
  • Darwin: 23 June
  • Perth: 20 July

0478 305 675

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2019
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1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 29 Jun 2022