Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Many of the chemicals we use have hazards associated with them; properties such as toxicity, flammability or corrosivity can cause some serious consequences if not controlled. Some of these hazardous chemicals are also classified as dangerous goods in Australia. These are chemicals where the hazards are sufficient to need additional safety measures. Read on to see if this applies to a product you have on your site.
Note that if the product is manufactured on your site the classification process in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code needs to be followed.
This article is general information only. For expert advice specific to your needs, get in touch.
CHECK THE LABEL
Most packages in Australia will display the name of the product. If it is a dangerous good, a small diamond icon will typically be shown on the label.
If there's no label on a container, it could be dangerous! Best to get in touch with the experts and get it disposed of safely.
The diamond may look something like the examples below:
If no diamond is present, it might not be classed as a dangerous good. Note the name of the product and continue with the steps below.
CHECK THE SAFETY DATA SHEET
Your best source of information about a product is the safety data sheet (SDS). This is a document which is required to be produced for every product manufactured in or imported into Australia. Under most state legislation the site operator is required to have a copy of the SDS for every product they have onsite.
In Western Australia, regulation 79(1)(a) of the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-Explosives) Regulations 2007 states:
"An operator of a dangerous goods site must obtain the current SDS . . . and ensure that the current SDS is readily accessible to persons engaged by the operator to work at the site" (p.69)
To obtain a copy of the SDS, you can ask the supplier or manufacturer to provide it to you. Under most state legislation a manufacturer, importer or supplier of any dangerous good is required to provide a compliant SDS with the product. Many suppliers have an online system which allows you to search their SDS database.
In Western Australia, regulation 20(1)(b) of the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-Explosives) Regulations 2007 states:
"A manufacturer, importer or supplier must ensure that the current SDS for the dangerous goods is provided on request, to an operator of any dangerous goods site on which the dangerous goods are stored or handled" (p.26)
Make sure that the SDS you are using is the correct product as some solutions may not be classed as dangerous goods under a certain concentration.
In the SDS there will be a section on transport or storage; this will tell you if the product is classified as a dangerous good under the Australian Dangerous Goods Code.
If the SDS states a product is not a dangerous good and it has been prepared correctly, then it's most likely not a dangerous good. However, some dangerous goods may be classified differently by some regulators. Continue reading to check if the product is a dangerous good under legislation.
CHECK THE DANGEROUS GOODS CODE
The National Transport Commission publishes the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, a lengthy document which includes all the requirements for the safe transportation of dangerous goods in Australia. Part 3 of this code lists thousands of products classified as dangerous goods. When searching for your product, remember to use the Proper Shipping Name rather than any brand name for the product. Usually a quick internet search will provide you with the Proper Shipping Name for your product.
If you're still unsure if your product is a Dangerous Good, continue to the final step below.
CHECK THE REGULATIONS
The regulator for each state may also have determined that a product is classified as a dangerous good. The best bet for checking this is to go to their website - in Western Australia that's the Department of Mines, Industrial Regulation and Safety. For example, sulfur in any form is a dangerous good in Western Australia.
Not from Western Australia? Check your State's regulations.
If it turns out that you do have dangerous goods onsite, you need to know exactly what you have to do to keep things safe and compliant. Our recommendation is talk to an expert and read some of our other articles about dangerous goods safety and compliance.
If your products aren't classified as dangerous goods, great! It may still be worth checking out your state's occupational health and safety regulations to see if there's any requirements for your chemicals. If this article helped you, please share it around to others who might find it useful.
Still unsure? Now's the best time to get in touch with an expert to work out your requirements. Feel free to have a chat with us and work out what you need. Our goal is to make the complex things simple.
This article was prepared as general guidance only and based on information current at time of publication. The use of this information is at the reader's own risk, Cadre Engineering accepts no liability for any outcomes of following this guidance. For expert advice, specific to your needs, please get in touch.