How To Set Up a Cleaning Chemical Register

A hazardous cleaning chemical register is a list of all the hazardous chemicals used, stored, or handled within a workplace. Setting up a compliant cleaning chemical register does not need to be a daunting task! In this article, we'll lead you through the process, and show you how to do it quickly and easily.
6 March, 2023 by
How To Set Up a Cleaning Chemical Register
XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire

A hazardous cleaning chemical register is a list of all the hazardous chemicals used, stored, or handled within a workplace. It is a legal requirement for all businesses that use hazardous chemicals, as it ensures that employees, contractors, and visitors are protected from the potential hazards associated with these chemicals. 

Setting up a compliant cleaning chemical register does not need to be a daunting task! With the right approach and tools, it can be done easily and efficiently.

Understanding the Legal Requirements for a Cleaning Chemical Register

Regulation 346 of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations, requires a person conducting a business or undertaking business, to ensure that:
• A register of hazardous chemicals used, handled, or stored at the workplace is prepared.
• A register is readily accessible to workers and anyone likely to be affected by a hazardous chemical in the workplace.
• The information in the chemical register is accurate and up to date. 

You do not need to include any non-hazardous cleaning chemicals on your register. 

Your hazardous cleaning chemicals register must also include a current Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each of the chemicals listed, and be easy to use.

Example chemical register template from Safe Work Australia

You can use the Safe Work Australia Chemical Register Template to make a hazardous chemical register for your business. You should also check with your WHS regulator for other requirements specific to your state or territory.

What information is required on a Cleaning Chemical Register?

Of the list below, only the cleaning chemical names are mandatory. The rest are recommended options of useful information that can help keep workers safe.

• The name of the chemical.
• The issue date of the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and/or the expiry date (SDS' have an expiry date of 5 years from the issue date).
• The manufacturer's name.
• The supplier's name.
• The location of the chemical within the workplace.
• The hazards associated with the chemical and any precautions that must be taken when using the chemical e.g. gloves and PPE.

Communicating safety information for cleaning chemicals that are not in the register

Your WHS requirement to have a hazardous chemical register does not replace or fulfil your requirement to communicate safety information to workers and visitors to your workplace.

Whether in the register or not, you must make safety information about the chemical available to everyone in your workplace. This applies to both hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals.

Expected information about the chemicals to be communicated includes:
• Safe use
• Handling
• Storage 

This information can be found on the chemical’s label and on the SDS (Safety Data Sheet).

What should you do now?

The first step in setting up a cleaning chemical register is to identify all of the hazardous chemicals that are used in your workplace. This may include chemicals used for cleaning, manufacturing, or other processes. To identify these chemicals, you can:

• Review Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each chemical used.
• Conduct a physical walk-around and inventory check of all cleaning and hygiene chemicals in the workplace.
• Consult with chemical manufacturers or suppliers.

Once you have identified all of the hazardous cleaning chemicals used in your workplace, you can collect and add the required information for each chemical into your register.

Updating and Maintaining the Cleaning Chemical Register

Maintaining an up-to-date cleaning chemical register is a crucial part of ensuring compliance with WHS regulations and protecting employees, contractors, and visitors from potential hazards. To maintain the cleaning chemical register, businesses should:

• Regularly review and update the register to ensure accuracy and completeness.
• Notify employees, contractors, and visitors of any changes to the register.
• Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees, contractors, and visitors on the potential hazards associated with each cleaning chemical and the precautions that must be taken when working with them.

Using Digital Tools for Cleaning Chemical Register Management

Managing a cleaning chemical register manually can be time-consuming and constantly out-of-date. Fortunately, there are many digital tools available that can make the process easier and more efficient. Some of the benefits of using digital tools for cleaning chemical management include:

• Automating the process of collecting and organizing information for each cleaning chemical
• Providing real-time updates to the chemical register
• Generating reports and analytics on chemical usage and potential hazards
• Integrating with other safety management systems
• Being automatically notified when an SDS is expired.

By using digital tools for cleaning chemical register management, businesses can save time, reduce errors, and gain valuable insights into their cleaning chemical usage and potential hazards. Companies like Lupin SystemsChemwatch and WHS Monitor are great places to start looking for this type of solution.

Benefits of Using a Cleaning Chemical Register

Using a cleaning chemical register can provide many benefits to businesses, including:

• Ensuring compliance with WHS regulations and avoiding potential fines and penalties.
• Protecting employees, contractors, and visitors from potential hazards associated with hazardous chemicals.
• Reducing the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace.
• Providing valuable data and insights on chemical usage and potential hazards
• Streamlining the process of managing hazardous chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a cleaning chemical register be stored digitally?

Yes, a cleaning chemical register can be stored digitally, but it must be easily accessible to all employees, contractors, and visitors.

Where can I get a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) from?

We have SDS (Safety Data Sheets), Training Information and Wall Charts available online 24/7 for our range of professional cleaning products. For an up-to-date SDS, just head to the Safety Data Sheet Directory on the XO2 website or go directly to the product page where you'll find a link to view, download or print the pdf.

It is unfortunate to hear that so many of our competitors don't roll the same way as we do :( We hear constant stories of SDS' being as hard to get as blood out of a stone. It's not acceptable! It is a requirement that your supplier provides you with a compliant and up-to-date SDS for any and all chemicals they supply you. If they don't, they are operating illegally and maybe you should look for another supplier. Like us would be good!

Is a hazardous chemical the same as Dangerous Goods?

No, these are two different things. Hazardous is a criteria set by Safe Work Australia in line with GHS7 which is a global system around the area of all things safety to do with a chemical. Dangerous Goods are specifically about the transport and storage of chemicals. In Australia, we follow the ADG Code (Australian Dangerous Goods Code).

A great way to show you the difference, and teach you where to find the information to determine if a chemical is classified as hazardous is to look at a Safety Data Sheet. Let's look at a common hazardous chemical we all know... Power Bleach. Click that link to the product page and then select the SDS + Downloads tab. Then click the SDS to view it. Section 2 is where you will find if a chemical is hazardous. Section 14 is where you will find out if a chemical is classified as Dangerous Goods. Power Bleach is classified as hazardous (irritating to eyes and skin) but is not classified as Dangerous Goods.

If a cleaning chemical is classified as hazardous, does that mean it is toxic?

No, not necessarily and not in most cases of cleaning chemicals. This is a very common misunderstanding. A good example is that a lot of hand soaps, hair shampoos and body wash products are classified as hazardous. It is generally because they contain enough of an ingredient that is irritating to the eyes. In the case of these products, that doesn't mean it is toxic, it just means you should close your eyes when using them and rinse them off that area of your body really well :)

How often should a cleaning chemical register be reviewed and updated?

A cleaning chemical register should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure accuracy and completeness. The frequency of reviews and updates will depend on the specific workplace and the cleaning products used. If in doubt, we recommend reviewing the register monthly.

What are the consequences of not having a compliant cleaning chemical register?

Failure to have a compliant cleaning chemical register can result in fines and penalties, as well as potential hazards to employees, contractors, and visitors in the workplace.

If you have any questions or concerns about setting up a compliant cleaning chemical register, don't hesitate to reach out and ask us for help. Cleaning products and compliance is what we do!

David Blamire, CEO at XO2

David is one of Australia's leading cleaning industry innovators. He's spent his entire working life solving cleaning challenges others thought were impossible. He's best known for his product creation and development skills along with a deep knowledge of business operations and all things ERP. In his spare time, David's a keen fisherman and adventurer. And he doesn't mind if you call him Davo.

Get in touch with David at He works from XO2's national headquarters and manufacturing centre in Queensland, Australia.

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