Public consultation on GHS closes this week

Safe Work Australia’s public consultation on its proposal to adopt an updated edition of the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals closes 28 July.

Safe Work Australia’s public consultation on the proposal to adopt an updated edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace hazardous chemicals, closes this Sunday 28 July.

Since 1 January 2017, the 3rd revised edition of the GHS has been implemented under the model Work Health and Safety laws.

As Australia’s transition to the GHS is complete, Safe Work Australia says it is time to move beyond GHS 3 to ensure Australia’s classification and labelling requirements for workplace chemicals are aligned with key trading partners, as they move to the 7th revised edition of the GHS (GHS 7).

Accord Australasia assistant director regulatory reform Catherine Oh told INCLEAN while there is more to be done before this proposed GHS revision is implemented, SafeWork Australia should be congratulated and supported for their collaborative approach thus far.

“When SafeWork Australia initially approached Accord to discuss a further revision of GHS (from the currently implemented third revision), they had already done an impressive amount of work,” she said.

“There was an analysis of every change from the 3rd to the 7th revision. They were in dialogue with overseas regulators assessing possible alignment with our trading partners. They were also ready to embark on a detailed Regulation Impact Analysis. But importantly, they did not have a firm view on the best options for implementation – they wanted to consult with industry before their analysis – a much more genuine consultation.”

Oh said the result is a formal public consultation paper that is well thought through.

Options include allowing sell through of already labelled products, mandatory update of Safety Data Sheets only for products where there has been a significant change e.g. a change to the hazard classification, with a reasonable transition time that takes into account our trading partners and their plans to adopt later revisions of GHS.

“If these options are implemented, then we can expect an orderly and well managed update to a newer revision of GHS with minimal disruptions to industry,” said Oh.

To provide your feedback and to access the Consultation Paper, register via the consultation platform, Engage  or email GHS@swa.gov.au.

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