South Africa has published its Regulation for Hazardous Chemical Agents, which adopts a revised version of the UN’s Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labelling of chemicals in the country’s industrial sector.
Manufacturers, importers, and retailers will be required to classify, label and provide a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) in accordance with the GHS and the requirements outlined in the regulations. It does not require the classification of some of the lesser hazardous classes and categories. These include:
Explosives – all categories, Acute toxicity 5 (oral, dermal, inhalation), Skin corrosion/irritation 3, Serious eye damage/eye irritation 2B, Aquatic acute 2 and 3, Aquatic chronic 3 and 4
The Regulations also requires that employers:
- Provide training for employees that may be exposed to hazardous chemicals during their work
- Provide employees with proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Perform air monitoring to test exposure to substances in workplaces and ensure they remain below a threshold stipulated in the regulations.
Although the requirements are for the industrial sector, departments for agriculture, transport and consumer health are expected to follow and implement the system.
Violation of the regulation is a criminal offence and could lead to fines or imprisonment. There is an 18-month transition period, and the regulations will take effect on September 29, 2022.