GHS7 Transition Ends
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The new year resolution for workplaces in 2023 will be to update safety information on hazardous and dangerous substances.
The new requirement comes into force on January 1, 2023.
This change is based on the latest 7th edition of the Globally Harmonised System (GHS7). GHS7 is being adopted nationally to improve classification and labelling and of substances and better inform workplaces about how to safely use hazardous, dangerous, and harmful chemicals and materials.
The implementation of GHS7 puts the legal duty on importers and manufacturers of substances to upgrade the safety information of their products. This applies to new substances sold for use in Australia from January 1, and new stock of any substances supplied from then on.
Workplaces may continue to use their current stock of substances already classified under the previous GHS editions until that stock is depleted. Progressively all substances supplied will be GHS7 classified and labelled product.
Under workplace health and safety law across the state and territory jurisdictions, employers must hold current Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for all classified substances they use. This ensures they have the safe handling and use information necessary to protect their workers from the health effects of substances they may be exposed to during their work.
Suppliers of classified substances must label substances and prepare information in the latest SDS format on how to use the product safely. The format and content must be at the current standard ie. according to the latest GHS edition and reviewed as often as needed to keep the information up-to-date. Employers using classified substances must obtain the SDS from the supplier and follow that advise when the substance is used for work.
Employers and providers of substances have had two years to prepare for the implementation of the GHS7 safety regime. It replaces a confusing mix of third, fourth and fifth GHS editions.
Regulators said the old system lacked uniformity in format and content and safety advice was inadequate and confusing. A large number of substances are in use in many types of workplaces every day and new substances come on the market each year to help make many work processes more effective and efficient, but not necessarily safer. So improved, standardised safety information is vital in modern workplaces to reduce risk of exposure.
Among the other GHS7 changes are easier to read precautionary statements, new advice for preventing eye damage, advice on a new class of substance – “desensitised explosives” – and a new safety criteria for flammable gases and substances supplied in aerosols.
Australia’s state and territory regulators claim that GHS7 will make classification more consistent and reduce costs of supply. It will simplify regulatory requirements for businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions and align with the system being adopted by Australia’s trading partners.
For more information on the GHS 7 go to Safe Work Australia: