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Managing hazchem risks

Most chemicals used for commercial and industrial purposes are dangerous to human health and are therefore workplace hazards that must be identified and managed as part of the workplace's risk management plan.

Safely managing hazardous chemicals

Depending on the volume and types of chemicals housed and used at your workplace, the business may also be categorised as a manifest quantity workplace (MQW) or even a major hazard facility (MHF).

Safely managing hazardous chemicals can involve any or all of the below activities:

  • Labelling and safety data sheets - identifying hazardous chemicals.
  • Providing information, training and supervision in evacuation and firefighting procedures.
  • Controlling fire and explosion risks - through controlling ignition sources such as naked lights, sparks and mobile phones where flammable atmospheres may exist.
  • Managing incompatible goods - to prevent hazardous reactions by segregation and separation and managing leaks and spills.
  • Selecting, providing and maintaining safety equipment and personal protective equipment.
  • Storage and handling systems - ensure safe design, location and installation of bulk.
  • Maintaining storage or handling systems to ensure integrity.
  • Placarding workplaces with hazardous chemicals in packages stored or handled above the prescribed placarding quantities (refer to Placarding for storage of hazardous chemicals (PDF, 722.17 KB).
  • Displaying a clearly visible information placard on tanks (a container having a capacity more than 500 L) containing hazardous chemicals.
  • Using documented safety management systems.
  • Emergency planning - for hazardous chemical hazards and an emergency manifest.
  • Compressed gas cylinders contain gas stored under significant pressure, presenting a significant hazard in the workplace.
  • Abandoned underground tanks or associated pipework is potentially dangerous and can cause explosions unless suitable procedures are adopted
  • Pipelines may carry materials that are flammable, explosive, or toxic, which means they can pose a danger to people and property if a release occurs because of a pipeline failure.
  • Carcinogens can be found in a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, scientific research and healthcare and may cause cancer.
Last updated
04 April 2017

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