WorkSafe to become hazardous substances regulator

Posted on 4 October 2017

Changes to the way hazardous substances are managed will come into effect at the beginning of December with the new Hazardous Substances Regulations.

Rules for the protection of people from workplace activities involving hazardous substances will be set under the new regulations and implemented by WorkSafe from December 1.

The updated regulations are part of the new health and safety law introduced in 2016. 

Helpful tools

To make compliance through the transition easier, WorkSafe has developed a range of guidance documents around managing hazardous substances and outlining operators’ obligations in the workplace.

Set to be released before the new regulations come into effect, the documents include a new guide to working with hazardous substances. The new guide updates the guide currently on the Hazardous Substances Toolbox.

The agency is going to release a new interpretive guide to the regulation changes and an emergency management flipchart.

It will also publish eight subject-specific quick guides including certified handlers, inventory, labelling, and risk management.

While most of the requirements under the new regulations come into force at the beginning of December, there will be instances of later commencement for specific regulations, giving a longer period to comply.

Provisions will be made to allow existing approvals and test certificates issued under the former regulations to continue until they expire.

EPA notices

The new regulations will be much the same as those set out in the existing Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

Hazardous substances will still be approved and classified under HSNO by the Environmental Protection Authority, including the rules for packaging and the formatting and content of labels.

The biggest change is that most of the hazardous substances rules will be set out in EPA notices.

The EPA says the notices will make compliance with the HSNO easier because they contain almost all the rules about a subject.

Because the notices are easier to update than regulations, the EPA says it can be more responsive to new developments and technologies.

Article by Cameron Massey - Tue, 03 Oct 2017, Inside Resources