Safety classification update for chemical substances

SafeWork SA is reminding businesses manufacturing and importing hazardous chemicals to only use GHS 7 to classify, label and prepare safety data sheets.

Since 1 January 2023, South Australia has adopted revision 7 of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), under the model WHS laws for workplace hazardous chemicals.

This change affects how businesses manufacturing, importing, supplying or using hazardous chemicals classify and label these substances.

GHS is an internationally agreed system of chemical classification and hazard communication published by the United Nations.

The seventh revision of GHS (GHS 7) ensures that labels and safety data sheets (SDS) for hazardous chemicals use updated classifications and hazard communications that will be standard across Australia and internationally.

GHS 7 is now the only system that PCBUs manufacturing or importing hazardous substances must use to classify and label newly manufactured and imported hazardous chemicals.

PCBUs are considered as manufacturers or importers of hazardous chemicals if they are in the business of re-packaging or re-labelling hazardous chemicals products with their product name.

SafeWork SA has amended the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) to update references to GHS.

PCBUs are not expected to re-label or dispose of products manufactured or imported before 1 January 2023 that use a previous system of classification like GHS 3.

However, businesses must ensure that SDS for substances manufactured or imported before 1 January 2023 comply with GHS 7 even if the label does not. This may mean updating the SDS as necessary to ensure it contains correct and current information.

Businesses that supply hazardous chemicals must check that any product manufactured or imported on or after 1 January 2023 is labelled in accordance with GHS 7.

In the same vein, workplaces that use hazardous chemicals must ensure that any stock they accept that is manufactured or imported on or after 1 January 2023 is labelled and has an SDS prepared in accordance with GHS 7.

See the Safe Work Australia website for details and resources on the GHS 7 transition.

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