Safe Work Australia issues GHS 7 hazardous chemicals reminder

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 27 November, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation
National News

Safe Work Australia recently issued a reminder that the final phase of the two-year transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Revision 7 (GHS 7) is fast approaching.

The GHS is a global system of classifying chemicals by hazard and preparing labels and SDS to communicate those hazards.

From 1 January 2023, only GHS 7 can be used to classify chemicals and prepare labels and safety data sheets for newly manufactured and imported hazardous chemicals in Australia (unless otherwise advised by WHS regulators).

The safety data sheets for existing chemicals should also comply with GHS 7 from 1 January 2023, while Western Australia’s GHS 7 start date is 31 March 2023.

“This change will affect businesses that manufacture, import, supply or use hazardous chemicals,” said Safe Work Australia, which noted there are a number of significant changes under GHS 7.

For aerosols, for example, the ‘flammable aerosols’ hazard class is now called aerosols. Category 3 is a new hazard category for non-flammable aerosols, however, classification and labelling for categories 1 and 2 aerosols (flammable aerosols under GHS 3) have not changed.

The flammable gas category 1 is now split into flammable gas category 1A and flammable gas category 1B. Flammable gas category 2 has not changed and is not used in Australia.

There are new flammable gas categories under flammable gas category 1A, including pyrophoric gas (a flammable gas that is liable to ignite spontaneously in air at a temperature of 54°C or below).

Chemically unstable gas A and chemically unstable gas B are flammable gas able to react explosively in the absence of air or oxygen.

GHS 7 also has a new hazard class for desensitised explosives. Desensitised explosives are solid or liquid explosive substances or mixtures that have had a substance added to make them safer to handle and transport.

Desensitised explosive substances or mixtures can be diluted or wetted with water, alcohols, or other substances to form a homogenous solid mixture, and/or dissolved or suspended in water or other liquid substances to form a homogenous liquid mixture.