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Australia’s chemical regulation falls under the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation. Specifically for Safety Data Sheet authoring, there are two standards that can apply. First, the National Code of practice for the Preparation of Material Safety Data Sheets 2nd edition [NOHSC:2011(2003)] applies until December 31, 2016. Alternatively, the National model Code of Practice for the Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals (2011) – which incorporates the new GHS based-system may be used, and will become mandatory after December 31, 2016.
Australia is currently transitioning between their current system and a new GHS based system, because of this both systems are currently valid and in effect. For the old system, the following additional regulations are in effect:
- Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances [NOHSC:1008(2004)], Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code),
- National Code of Practice for the Labelling of Workplace Substances [NOHSC:2012(1994)].
For the new GHS based system, the following additional regulations are in effect:
With the adoption of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulations in 2012, there will be a new system of chemical classification and hazard communication for labels and SDS’s based on the GHS system. There is a 5 year transition period in effect between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. After December 31, 2016 all labelling and SDS’s must be updated to the new system based on the GHS. For more information please refer to Safe Work Australia.
Australian SDS’s can be combined with New Zealand regulations so that one document will be compliant in both jurisdictions. Having a single document for use in other jurisdictions should be avoided due to significant differences between systems.