South Australia will fully implement the globally harmonised system of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) – the international system for classifying chemicals with new labelling and warning information, from 1 January 2017.
Australia has staged implementation since adopting the GHS in January 2012 to enable chemical manufacturers and importers the time to reclassify their chemicals and make the necessary changes to labels and safety data sheets.
“The new chemical labelling system will make it easier for people to identify what the chemical is, how to store it and how to respond in case of exposure,” said SafeWork SA executive director, Marie Boland.
The new system includes a common set of pictograms and easy-to-understand information describing the nature and severity of the hazard, how to store the chemical properly, how to respond in case of exposure, and the contact details of the Australian manufacturer or importer.
The new elements of GHS will be included on mandatory labelling and the safety data sheets (SDS), which replace Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
SafeWork SA is advising businesses to plan ahead and not get caught out come 1 January 2017.
“Manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals are required to reclassify and relabel chemicals as well as prepare revised safety data sheets,” Boland said.
“We want to ensure that all South Australian businesses are aware of the change and what they must do, from suppliers to end users.”