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FAQ - Legal Requirements
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Legal requirements relating to chemicals aim to protect people, property and the environment both on and off the premises and can be summarised as follows:
Federal Laws, Codes and Standards
Duty of care
under common law which means that activities must be carried out in a safe manner so as not to cause harm or injury to the user, other people, animals or the environment. A breach of a duty of care may amount to negligence.
Transport of Dangerous Goods:
The Model Subordinate Law for the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous by Road and Rail (ADG Code) covers the classification, marking and transport of dangerous goods and is picked up by State and Territory Transport of Dangerous Goods legislation.
Safe Work Australia standards and codes of practice
National standards and codes of practice for the safe storage and handling of hazardous substances and dangerous goods are used as model legislation by the States and Territories and are useful guidance material. The National Code of Practice for the preparation of MSDS provides guidance for suppliers of hazardous substances.
may be picked up or referenced in legislation to mandate or recommend prescribed requirements to meet legislated outcomes. Examples include :
AS2507: The Storage and Handling of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals
AS1940: The Storage and Handling of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
AS4452: The Storage and Handling of Toxic Substances.
State and Territory Laws and Codes
Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation:
all Australian jurisdictions have committed to adopting the new model work health and safety legislations. The work health and safety laws in each State and Territory contain the same basic requirements although they may vary in detail. These requirements include :
obtaining MSDS for hazardous substances,
maintaining a product register of stored chemicals
identifying hazards and assessing risks,
having controls in place to eliminate, or if not possible, to minimise or manage risks,
periodically reviewing hazards and risks.
WHS legislation also has requirements for matters such as employer/employee consultation, first aid and amenities.
which aims to prevent pollution of the soil, water and air. In all States and Territories laws cover environmental harm or pollution whereby materially or significantly harmful pollution may result in prosecution. There are variations in the extent to which waste is regulated. In Victoria there is clear prohibition of the disposal of waste on premises. The classification of agricultural and veterinary chemicals as waste in New South Wales (hazardous waste), Queensland (regulated waste) and South Australia (listed waste) mandates the removal of obsolete chemicals in an approved manner.
which regulates the supply and storage of schedule poisons. Signal headings on the label are determined by the Poisons Schedule and have specific requirements. For example Schedule 7 poisons, (signal heading DANGEROUS POISON) must be kept away from public access and records need to be kept by the reseller on the person to whom the S7 has been sold. Schedule 6 poisons (signal heading POISON, on the label), have prescribed storage requirements to be kept out of reach of children, typically 1.2m above floor level.
Transport of dangerous goods legislation
applies to the transport of dangerous goods and picks up the requirements of the ADG Code. There are exemptions which may apply to the transport of dangerous goods from the reseller to the premises.