Workplaces with hazardous chemicals must keep a register for use by workers—it's a requirement under work health and safety laws. It is easy to do and there are tools you can use to prepare.
A hazardous chemicals register is a list of all hazardous chemicals used, handled or stored at your workplace subject to any exclusions.
You must keep the current safety data sheet (SDS) as produced by the manufacturer or importer for each hazardous chemical with the register. The SDS will give you important information to assist you to safely use and manage hazardous chemicals. For example, it includes information on fire hazards, reactivity, health hazards, safe storage conditions, first aid treatment, and emergency response actions. Your chemicals supplier should provide an SDS on request, unless the chemical is a consumer product, or the supplier is a retailer. In these cases, the SDS will be available from the product's Australian manufacturer or importer.
The register must be accessible to workers and anyone else who is likely to be affected by chemicals at your workplace. You also need to ensure the register can be used during a power outage, as there's a good chance emergency services or the circumstances of the emergency itself will cut the power. First response actions are much easier to tackle if there is easy access to information about all chemicals on site.
There is a register template to download at worksafe.qld.gov.au which you can amend to include additional information, such as:
- the issue date of the safety data sheet
- the name of the manufacturer and supplier of the chemical
- site locations where the chemical is used and stored
- any codes or numbers used to identify chemicals at your workplace.
Chemicals that are not classified as hazardous do not need to be included on the register.
Regulations require all hazardous chemicals that are stored, handled or used at a workplace to be listed on the register except where they are:
- in-transit (not used in the workplace and are not kept in the workplace for more than five consecutive days)
- consumer products (packed primarily for use by a household consumer and used in the workplace in a way that is consistent with normal household use)
- hazardous chemicals in batteries when incorporated in plant
- fuel, oils or coolants in a container fitted to a vehicle, vessel, aircraft, mobile plant, appliance or other device, if the fuel, oil or coolant is intended for use in the operation of the device
- fuel in the fuel container of a domestic or portable fuel burning appliance, if the quantity of fuel does not exceed 25kg or 25L
- hazardous chemicals in portable firefighting or medical equipment for use in a workplace
- hazardous chemicals that form part of the integrated refrigeration system of refrigerated freight containers
- potable liquids that are consumer products at retail premises
- food and beverages within the meaning of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code that are in a package and form intended for human consumption
- tobacco or products made of tobacco
- therapeutic goods within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cwlth) at the point of intake by or administration to humans
- veterinary chemical products within the meaning of the Agvet Code at the point of intentional administration to animals.
Visit worksafe.qld.gov.au to find out more about hazardous chemical registers and download templates.