New hazardous substance regulations

September 3, 2017 Tara

Many chemicals and fuels used in extractive operations are hazardous and will be controlled from 1st December 2017, by the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017.

This change from the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO) also represents a change in jurisdiction from the EPA to WorkSafe.

Hazardous substances used in the extractives industry include:

  • explosives and detonators
  • compressed gases
  • cyanide
  • resins (eg polyurethane resins)
  • mercury                               
  • acids
  • lead
  • paints and solvents
  • petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
These substances could be hazardous to inhale or touch, acidic, affect reproductive health, or may be highly flammable or explosive.

The new regulations require:

  1. Current Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to be kept for each hazardous substance. These must be readily available to workers and emergency services.
  2. Specific labelling of hazardous substances, particularly when decanted into another container.
  3. Storage, separation, and security depending on the classification of the hazardous substance.
  4. Risk assessments to be conducted on hazardous substances utilising information contained in the product SDS.
  5. Specific training of workers in the use, handling and storage of hazardous substances.
  6. Prescription around the number and location of fire extinguishers.
  7. Emergency Response Plans to include hazardous substances and these plans to be tested every 12 months.

For more help and information visit this WorkSafe link.

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