State and territory work health and safety regulators have agreed to adopt the 7th edition of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), which will update the current reference to the third edition in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.
The GHS provides the criteria for the classification of hazardous chemicals in part 7.1 of the regulation.
The decision is driven by recent advice from the European Union, USA and Canada, about their planned adoption of GHS Revision 7. Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation have also signalled a likely move to GHS Revision 7 between now and 2021.
Industry will be updated on the implementation plans and provided with a transition period when the new edition is adopted. The move ensures Australia's requirements for the classification and labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals remain best practice and are aligned with key international trading partners in chemicals.
Safe Work Australia is working towards adopting GHS Revision 7 under the model WHS laws from 1 July 2020, with a two-year transitional period for manufacturers and importers.
The two-year timeframe will allow manufacturers and importers time to prepare new classifications, labels and safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals to meet GHS Revision 7 requirements.
Suppliers and users of hazardous chemicals will not be affected by the move to GHS Revision 7 and will be able to continue to supply and use chemicals classified and labelled under GHS Revision 3 until their stocks run out.
Safe Work Australia will continue to consult and work with stakeholders to ensure changes to Australia's classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals are implemented effectively.