By : XO2 Pty Ltd, Chris Blamire May 23th, 2016

What Is GHS And How Will It Affect Cleaning Chemical Use In Your Workplace After The 31st December 2016?

XO2 and our manufacturing partners have been in the process of updating packaging, labeling, and Safety Data Sheets (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets) for all the chemical products we supply.

So why would we do that?

Well there’s a new international system and set of regulations called GHS for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. It’s important to note this change to the system started several years ago and we’ve been in a transition phase but the deadline for full GHS compliance in Australia is January 1st 2017, so everyone needs to be ready.

What is the GHS?

GHS is the new ‘Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals’ regulations that become mandatory in Australia after the 31st of December 2016. This is big news for any company that stores chemicals at their workplace. Some chemicals that were classified as non-hazardous under the old system are now classed as hazardous under the new system so it’s important to pay attention to the compliance requirements in order to protect yourself.

Where did GHS come from?

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) regulations is published by the United Nations. It’s an internationally agreed upon and unified system of classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals. One of the big ideas behind GHS is to better communicate the associated risks of a substance to the user.

Will GHS benefit you and your workplace?

The implementation of GHS is expected to deliver improvement in health and safety outcomes through the use of internationally consistent hazard communication elements. Not everyone agrees but these are the rules that have been implemented and time will tell.

When will the GHS changes take effect?

The new GHS code is mandatory from 1st January 2017. There has been a 5 year transitional period for moving to the new GHS-based system, but the industry seems to have been slow to adopt the changes and now time is running out. The mandatory implementation deadline is fast approaching.

What will GHS effect in your workplace?

• Product hazard classification

• Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)

• Product labels

• GHS employee training requirements

What types of chemicals are covered under the GHS regulations?

GHS applies to hazardous chemicals that are sold into the workplace only. Retail products are not covered by the GHS labeling guidelines and need to continue to conform with the SUSMP (Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons) which controls labeling of poisons in the retail area. All hazardous products will need to have their Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) updated to comply with the new regulations.

Will you need to have GHS compliant Safety Data Sheets at your workplace from 1st January 2017?

Yes. Our current understanding of that question is that you will need the Safety Data Sheets at your workplace to be GHS compliant from 1st January 2017.

GHS and the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) code

GHS does not replace the ADG code. Manufacturers must continue to comply with the ADG code and relevant state and territory transport laws for the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail. When in the workplace however, dangerous goods must meet the labeling requirements prescribed under the GHS regulations. It’s important to note that a product that is classed as Hazardous under the GHS regulations may not necessarily be classed as a Dangerous Good for transport. This may get confusing because a product under GHS could for example require a Corrosive GHS pictogram to be displayed on the label but is not classed as a Corrosive 8 Dangerous Good according to the ADG code which has a very similar (almost the same) pictogram.

References and more information

The best resource for GHS information is Safe Work Australia. Here’s a link if you would like more information…

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/ghs/pages/ghs

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/pages/hazardous-chemicals-other-substances

For more information and assistance with any of your GHS related questions please get in touch with the XO2 customer care team on 1300 123 499, or visit the XO2 cleaning chemicals online store.

Have a great day.