Chemical Management

Chemicals are in use in offices, laboratories and workshops throughout the University.

Laboratories and workshops especially may use, handle and store an enormous variety of chemicals, some of which can affect people's health and cause damage to property or the environment. Equally, however, offices may use chemicals such as glues, printing agents and cleaning agents, which also present a certain level of risk.

Some of the requirements for chemical management can be quite complex. The Health & Safety: Chemical requirements and associated guidance material aims to provide simple, directive guidance on how to achieve compliance in regard to chemical management at the University of Melbourne.

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  • Safety data sheets (SDS)

    What is an SDS

    A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) provides information about the hazards (health effects) of a chemical and how to use it safely. It also helps the user of a chemical to identify, assess and control risks associated with the use of the chemical in the workplace.

    An SDS must be written in English, be in date and contain certain information. You can confirm that an SDS meets regulatory requirements using the Safety Data Sheet Checklist.

    An SDS should not be confused with a product specification sheet, which provides information on characteristics of the product and directions for use.

    More information about SDS is available in the Chemical Management Guidelines.

    A chemical classed as a hazardous substance should not be purchased or used if an SDS is not available,* or if it is apparent that its SDS contains significant discrepancies or omissions.

    * Exception: a SDS is not required for a chemical that has been manufactured within and will only be used or supplied within the University of Melbourne.

    Users of chemicals must have access to SDS

    Staff and students who handle hazardous chemicals or work where hazardous chemicals are stored must be provided with access to a current SDS. This access must be as close to the work area as reasonably practicable.

    • If computers are easily accessible in the work area, then an electronic SDS database can be used to fulfill this requirement. The electronic database in use at the University will usually be GoldFFX.
    • If computers are not easily accessible in the work area, paper copies of SDS may be required. If you are using paper copies, be aware that it is easy for them to be misplaced or to fall out of date. It is important to have a management system to review your paper copies regularly for currency and completeness.

    Electronic access to SDS

    Everyone with a University username and password can access SDS in GoldFFX.

    SDS for non-hazardous chemicals

    SDS are not required for non-hazardous chemicals, but such SDS still contain useful safety information. It is strongly recommended that SDS for non-hazardous chemicals are retained and consulted regarding safe use, handling, storage and disposal. A copy of an SDS also provides a method of determining whether a chemical is hazardous if this is unknown, or if this needs to be proven using documentation.

    Missing, incomplete or erroneous SDS

    If you have the manufacturer's SDS:

    If you do not have the manufacturer's SDS, and want ChemWatch to source it for you:

    • Email ChemWatch customer service to request the SDS be sourced and uploaded
    • This service currently costs $5 per SDS, payable by the requesting department.
    • ChemWatch will email you a quote for the cost. Once you have this quote, you must then supply a purchase order from Themis iProcurement (Chemwatch trades as UCORP PTY LTD). Please contact the purchasing officer in your department for assistance.

    If you want ChemWatch to create an enhanced 'Gold' SDS for you:

    ChemWatch Gold SDS are enhanced SDS with pictograms and improved usability. You may wish to order one because of the superior usability, or because you have manufactured a new chemical and need an SDS written for it.

    • Email ChemWatch customer service to request the Gold SDS be created
    • This service currently costs $80 per SDS, payable by the requesting department.
    • ChemWatch will email you a quote for the cost. Once you have this quote, you must then supply a purchase order from Themis iProcurement (Chemwatch trades as UCORP PTY LTD). Please contact the purchasing officer in your department for assistance.
  • Chemical inventories

    Most workplaces need a chemical inventory

    Victorian statute requires that all hazardous chemicals in a workplace must be recorded in a chemical inventory. A chemical inventory may be needed if emergency services enter your building, and can assist you in chemical stock management.

    A chemical inventory must have certain characteristics, which are detailed in the Chemical Management Guidelines. You can comply with these requirements by using GoldFFX to manage inventories, or by using the manual inventory templates (refert to the next section) to manage inventories manually.

    Electronic access to chemical inventories

    Anyone requiring access to an electronic chemical inventory requires a GoldFFX user ID and password.

    Instructions by workplace type

    Offices

    Offices here means any environment intended for administrative-type work, which includes libraries. Most offices do not have GoldFFX users with inventory management rights, as there is no operational need. Offices should use the example of an Office Chemical Inventory template to produce a chemical inventory manually.

    Note: this template contains examples of chemicals commonly purchased through the University's contracted Stationery supplier, [University network login required]. You will need to modify your template to reflect the chemicals in your area.

    Workshops

    Some University workshops use GoldFFX to manage their chemical inventories, and others use one of a variety of other systems.

    Laboratories

    Most University laboratories use GoldFFX to manage their chemical inventories, but some use other systems, or supplement GoldFFX with other systems.

    Chemical inventories maintained manually

    Areas not using GoldFFX must make sure that their chemical inventories comply with the requirements laid out in the Chemical Management Guidelines. Templates and examples of chemical inventories maintained manually are available in the following section.

  • Chemical inventory form and examples

    Chemical Inventories

    Inventories maintained manually

    Note: if you base your own inventory on one of these examples, you must customise the contents and the document control in the footer to reflect your own workplace's situation.

  • GoldFFX Administrators and User Types

    Contact your GoldFFX Super Users for further details and access to your local manifest.

    User Type Access/Permissions
    Super User

    The Super User (Administrator) has all funtionality and permissions assigned to all other user types. In addition, the Super User can also:

    Create Users

    Assign defined roles to Users

    Assign access to Folders in a Manifest

    Laboratory Supervisor

    Assign read/write access to all users in their portfolio

    Access and create local area Manifests

    Risk assessment functionality

    Post Graduate Students

    Read/write access

    Risk assessment funtionality

    Access to local area manifest as per Laboratory Supervisor approval

    Undergraduate Students

    Read access only

    Risk assessment funtionality

    Access to local area manifest as per Laboratory Supervisor approval

    For more information or staff requiring Super User permissions please contact safety-chemical@unimelb.edu.au

  • Access to GoldFFX Manifests

    View and edit chemical manifests (inventory) for your area

    How to login

    Login to GoldFFX

    • Launch GoldFFX - Initially you are logged in as general user (UOM-MSDS/everyone) who can only access SDS
    • Log out of GoldFFX
    • Login using unique username and password (as provided by your Super User or Laboratory Supervisor)

    Bulk upload manifests (inventories) into GoldFFX

    You may wish to use this service if you have extensive existing chemical inventories/manifests not in GoldFFX. Please contact safety-chemical@unimelb.edu.au for assistance.

Chemical Risk Assessments and General Requirements

  • Overview

    Requirements Overview

    A chemical risk assessment is a record of the identification of hazards and risks associated with chemicals, and the risk controls that have been implemented to mitigate these factors.

    Managers/Supervisors need to ensure that all chemicals located in their area of responsibility have chemical risk assessments completed prior to use.

    For further support view the Safety Bulletin - Triggers for chemical risk assessment and Safety Bulletin - Chemical risk assessment resource

    Detailed guidance is in the Chemical management guidelines. For the University's general Risk Management framework, refer to Implement page within Management System.

    Who does the Risk Assessment?

    Chemical Risk Assessments must be completed by staff or students who are competent in the risk assessment process, and familiar with the chemical in question and the interaction of that chemical with the activity.

    Training may be required - refer to the Chemical management guidelines

    When should the Risk Assessment be done?

    Before first purchase

    A preliminary risk assessment must be performed using the OHS pre-purchase risk assessment checklist before purchasing a chemical for the first time.

    Before first use

    A detailed Risk Assessment must be completed before using a chemical for the first time.

    For chemicals that have been used before and processes that have been completed before, your area should have a suitable existing risk assessment available. Consult your laboratory manager, OHS Coordinator or supervisor to confirm. If a suitable risk assessment is available, and has been reviewed on the required occasions, you do not need to complete another.

    Subsequent review

    An existing Risk Assessment should be reviewed at regularly scheduled intervals. Frequency should be determined based on the level of risk, and must not exceed 5 years.

    Review is also required when changes to the environment or systems of work occur that affect the effectiveness of previous controls - for examples, see the Chemical management guidelines.

    Ensuring the Risk Assessment is available to users

    A chemical risk assessment must be kept where all staff and students performing work associated with the chemical can access it. Chemical users need to consult the risk assessment to safely manage the chemical, and to know how to respond in the event of an adverse incident.

    Types of chemical risk assessment

    Individual vs Generic

    Individual

    Individual chemical risk assessments are required when chemicals:

    • have unique risks
    • have unique controls
    • are used in a manner other than the intended purpose of the manufacturer or supplier
    • are assessed as high risk because there could be severe physical or environmental outcomes from an adverse incident.

    When creating a new individual chemical risk assessment, use the Chemical risk assessment worksheet .

    Generic

    When a group of chemicals has the same associated risks and controls, and does not meet the criteria for an individual risk assessment, the group may be accounted for collectively using a generic risk assessment.

    In deciding whether to use a generic risk assessment, it is important to confirm that the general risk assessment genuinely accounts for all situations and conditions in which each chemical will be used or stored in practice.

    A list of example generic risk assessments are available. If adopting these in your workplace, ensure you adapt them to reflect local conditions and work practices.

    • Generic CRA for lab/workshop and office examples can be found below under 'Chemical risk assessments' or in the Form Library.
    • Chemical Risk Assessment vs Process Chemical Risk Assessment

      Chemical Risk Assessment

      Chemical risk assessment, here, means the risk assessment of a single chemical considered individually. This is most suitable when neither the processes the chemical will undergo, nor interaction with other chemicals, will cause any significant change to risks or required controls.

      Process Chemical Risk Assessment

      A process chemical risk assessment is a risk assessment of a chemical process in which multiple activities and/or multiple chemicals may interact. In these cases, it may not be valid or reasonably practicable to complete a separate risk assessment for each chemical involved. Instead, complete a risk assessment setting out the process steps of the activity.

    Chemical Risk Assessment template

    All chemical risk assessments should comply with the advice in the Chemical management guidelines.

    To assist in compliance, use the Chemical risk assessment template.

    The Generic CRA for lab/workshop and Generic CRA for Office can be used as examples and can be found in the Guidance material index

  • Chemical risk assessments
  • General requirements

    Consult the Chemical management guidelines for advice on the following further general requirements for chemical management:

    • Purchasing and Acquisition
    • Importation
    • Manufacture or Supply
    • Labeling
    • Storage and Handling
    • Signage
    • Monitoring
    • Health Surveillance
    • Training
    • Waste Management
    • Access Arrangements
    • Emergency Procedures

Specific Chemicals Requirements

  • Dangerous Goods

    What are Dangerous Goods?

    Dangerous Goods are substances that present an immediate hazard to people, property or the environment due to properties including flammability, explosiveness, acute toxicity and dangerous reactivity.

    Suppliers of Dangerous Goods are obliged to:

    • assign a Class, Subsidiary Risk and Packing Group to the goods, which will be represented by a Hazard Class Diamond; and
    • pack the goods in a special way that complies with the packaging requirements.

    Hazard recognition using Hazard Class Diamonds

    In Victoria, Dangerous Goods are grouped into classes based on their dangerous properties. Each class is labelled with a coloured, diamond-shaped Class Label to ensure that people can quickly recognise the dangers it presents.

    All Dangerous Goods must be labelled with their appropriate diamond-shaped Class Label.

    Class Label visual reference

    Illustrations of Class Labels are included in the following chart:

    The above chart also includes pictograms associated with the national adoption of the Global Harmonisation Scheme (GHS). Refer the chemical management guidelines for more detail.

    Compliance requirements for Dangerous Goods in the workplace

    To use or store Dangerous Goods in a workplace, you must meet the following requirements:

    • This includes determining safety requirements via risk assessment, with reference to the Safety data sheet.
    • A number of generic risk assessments for Dangerous Goods are available under Forms at the top right side of this page.
    • A further set of requirements specific to Dangerous Goods, as described below.

    Packaging

    In the event that you need to transport Dangerous Goods, you will need to pack the goods according to their Packaging Group classification - refer to the Chemical management guidelines.

    Dangerous Goods Manifest

    A Dangerous Goods Manifest must be kept listing all Dangerous Goods stored in the workplace. You can fulfill this requirement by keeping a chemical inventory as described on the Chemical Inventories page.

    At the University of Melbourne, a Dangerous Goods Manifest is kept in the fire panel of certain designated buildings, to ensure its availability to emergency services. The Building Emergency Controller for each designated building is responsible for keeping the manifest up to date. The Director, OHS and Injury Management, determines which buildings are designated to have this requirement.

    Storage

    Specific requirments for the storage and handling of dangerous goods are outlined in the chemical management guidelines. Information associateed with dangerous goods storage are outlined in the following guidelines:

    Placarding of Buildings and Entrances

    • HAZCHEM outer warning placards are required on all entrances to buildings where Dangerous Goods are stored in quantities that exceed the Placarding Quantity. Dangerous Goods Class Labels are also required on or near storage locations whose contents exceed the Placarding Quantity.
    • The Placarding Quantity is set out in Schedule 2 of the Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2000. This Schedule is available in the Chemical management guidelines.
    • To determine whether your building exceeds the Placarding Quantity, you will need to determine the quantity of Dangerous Goods in the building.
    • Refer to the Chemical management guidelines for more detailed advice.
  • Hazardous Substances

    What is a hazardous substance?

    A Hazardous Substance is a chemical that has the potential to cause harm to a person's health, and which meets the following criteria:

    Exposure to Hazardous Substances usually occurs through inhalation and skin contact or absorption, and can cause immediate or long term health effects.

    Storage and handling: Quick reference

    Quick Reference information for handling and storing Hazardous Substances is available on the Chemical Storage and Handling: Quick Reference poster. Detailed safety requirements for Hazardous Substances in the workplace should be determined by chemical risk assessment with reference to the Safety Data Sheet.

    Compliance requirements for Hazardous Substances in the workplace

    Hazardous Substances have the same general requirements for chemical management as all chemicals, in addition to the further requirements described below.

    Register of Hazardous Substances

    A Register of Hazardous Substances in the workplace must be kept.

    You can fulfill this requirement by keeping a chemical inventory.

    Labeling

    The word HAZARDOUS should be displayed clearly and prominently on the label of all Hazardous Substances.

    This is in addition to general labeling requirements set out in the Chemical management guidelines.

    Health Surveillance

    If any of a certain list of Hazardous Substances is in use in the workplace, health surveillance is required.

    Costs of health surveillance are borne by the relevant Division or Faculty.

    A list of Hazardous Substances requiring health surveillance is available in the Chemical management guidelines. However, for the most current list please consult Occupational Health.

  • Scheduled Carcinogens

      What is a Scheduled Carcinogen?

      Scheduled Carcinogens are a special category of Hazardous Substances.

      A Scheduled Carcinogen is a hazardous substance that may cause cancer. Scheduled Carcinogens are listed in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the National Model Regulations for the Control of Scheduled Carcinogenic Substances (NOHSC:1011[1995])

      Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 carcinogens have different prohibitions and requirements associated with them.

      Schedule 1 carcinogens

      Schedule 1 carcinogens are subject to restrictions by workplace type, and require a license.

      • 2-Acetylaminofluorene
      • Aflaxotins
      • 4-Aminodiphenyl
      • Benzadines and its salts
      • Bis(chloromethyl) ethyr
      • Chloromethyl ethyl ether (technical grade)
      • 4-Dimethylaminoazobenzene
      • 2-Naphthylamine and its salts
      • 4-Nitrodiphenyl

      Refer to the National Model Regulations for the Control of Scheduled Carcinogenic Substances (NOHSC:1011[1995]) for the most current and complete version of Schedule 1.

      Schedule 2 carcinogens

      Schedule 2 carcinogens require a license

      • Acrylonitrile
      • Benzene – when contained in feedstock containing more than 50% benzene by volume
      • 3,3’-Dichlorobenzidine and its salts
      • Diethylsulfate
      • Dimethyl sulfate
      • Ethyl dibromide – when used as a fumigant
      • 4,4’-Methylene bis(2-chloroaniline)
      • 2-Propiolactone
      • o-Toluidine and o-Toluidine hydrochloride
      • Vinyl chloride monomer

      Refer to the National Model Regulations for the Control of Scheduled Carcinogenic Substances (NOHSC:1011[1995]) for the most current and complete version of Schedule 2.

      Compliance requirements for Scheduled Carcinogens in the workplace

      To use or keep Scheduled Carcinogens in a workplace, you must meet the following requirements:

      • All general requirements, as described in Chemical Management Key Topics.
      • All requirements specific to Hazardous Substances, as described in Hazardous Substances.
      • A further set of requirements specific to Scheduled Carcinogens, as described below.

      Restrictions by workplace type

      Schedule 1 carcinogens are only permitted to be used in laboratories, provided you have a license.

      Schedule 2 carcinogens may be used in any type of workplace, provided you have a license.

      Licensing

      Each separate Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 carcinogenic chemical requires a license from WorkSafe Victoria.

      Each chemical will require a separate application, supporting documentation outlining control measures to prevent exposure, and a WorkSafe application fee.

      For information about applying for a license, consult your laboratory manager or local Health & Safety contact.

      Access Arrangements

      Access to scheduled carcinogens should be restricted to staff or students who:

      • work directly with the scheduled carcinogens;
      • have received chemical training; and
      • have been fully briefed on the chemical risk assessment.
      • Health Surveillance

        Health surveillance is required for all Scheduled Carcinogens.

        Costs of health surveillance are borne by the relevant Division or Faculty.

          Nature of health surveillance required

          Preliminary advice on the nature of health surveillance required can be found in the chemical's Safety Data Sheet.

          Complete advice should be sought from Occupational Health.

          Record-keeping requirements
          • Records must be kept for each person who works with a Scheduled Carcinogen.
          • Records must contain certain information, which is listed in the Chemical management guidelines.
          • A written copy of the record must be given to each person who has worked with a scheduled carcinogenic substance when s/he ceases work or study at the University of Melbourne.
  • Drugs, poisons and controlled substances

    What are controlled substances?

    Controlled substances are substances that are controlled by particular legislation, and include:

    • prescription medicines;
    • pharmacy-only medicines;
    • drugs of dependence; and
    • many household, industrial and agricultural chemicals.

    Controlled substances are classified into Schedules 1-9, which each have different restrictions associated with them. The broad definition of these schedules appears in the Chemical management guidelines.

    The list of controlled substances that fall into each schedule is a combination of the Poisons Code (Vic) and the Standard for the uniform scheduling of drugs and poisons(Cth).

    Compliance requirements for controlled substances in the workplace

    Poisons Permit

    In order to purchase and use drugs, poisons and controlled substances for industrial, educational, advisory or research purposes, Divisions/Departments are required to hold an Industrial and Educational Permit ("Poisons Permit"). Steps to obtain a Poisons Permit are below.

    Application for an Industrial and Educational Permit

    Complete the application form available from the Department of Health website.

    Application to nominate a Responsible Person

    You must nominate a Responsible Person for the poisons. This person must have certain qualifications, detailed in the Chemical management guidelines.

    Complete the nomination/application form available from the Department of Health website.

    Poisons Control Plan

    Divisions/Departments must develop a Poisons Control Plan to apply for a Poisons Permit, and must maintain the Poisons Control Plan in order to continue to comply with existing Poisons Permits.

    Poisons Controls Plan Part 1

    Poisons Controls Plan Part 2

    Poisons Controls Plan Part 3

    Detailed Advice

    Refer to the Chemical management guidelines for more detailed advice.

    Labeling

    All controlled substances should display their Poison Schedule on their label.

    This is in addition to general labeling requirements set out in the Chemical management guidelines.

    Access

    Access to Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances that require an Industrial and Educational Permit should be restricted to persons who:

    • work directly with the scheduled poison;
    • have received chemical training;
    • have been fully briefed on the chemical risk assessment; and
    • are the nominated responsible person, or are staff/students directly under the control of the nominated responsible person.

    Records

    Transaction records must be kept for Schedule 4, 8 and 9 poisons. For requirements for the content of these records, refer to the Chemical management guidelines.

    Records can be kept by either hard copy (eg logbook) or computer provided that they meet the requirements and cannot be altered, obliterated, deleted or removed without detection.

  • Chemicals of security concern

    Weapons of Mass Destruction

    What is a Chemical Associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction?

    Chemicals associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction have been scheduled by an international treaty called the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

    The CWC schedules, which list the chemicals in question, are available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade publication, Chemical Weapons Convention: A Guide for Industry Producing, Using or Trading Chemicals 2014.

    Compliance requirements for Chemicals Associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction

    To use or store chemicals associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction in a workplace, you must meet the following requirements:

    High Consequence Dangerous Goods (HCDG)

    What are HCDG?

    The term High Consequence Dangerous Goods refers to dangerous goods that are of security concern due to their potential to cause mass casualties and/or destruction.

    The following chemicals have been declared to be HCDG:

    • ammonium nitrate in concentrations > 45%; and
    • calcium ammonium nitrate in concentrations > 45%.

    Compliance requirements for HCDG in the workplace

    To use or store HCDG in a workplace, you must meet the following requirements:

    • All general requirements of chemical management, as described in Chemical Management Key Topics.
    • All requirements for dangerous goods, as described in Dangerous Goods.
    • Licensing requirements:
      • Victorian tertiary education institutions are exempt from licensing requirements if: the HCDG are used for the purposes of an educational institution, research or testing; and the quantity does not exceed 3 kg per area (laboratory).
      • If these criteria cannot be met, a license will be required. Contact your laboratory manager for further advice.
    • If these criteria cannot be met, a license will be required. Contact your laboratory manager for further advice.
  • Precursor chemicals

    What is a Precursor Chemical or Apparatus?

    Precursor Chemicals are chemicals that are known to have been used in the illicit manufacture of drugs. Precursor Apparatus are apparatus that can be used to manufacture illicit chemicals.

    A current list of affected chemicals and apparatus is available in the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances (Precursor Supply) Regulations 2010 (Vic), which can be accessed via http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au.

    Compliance requirements for Precursor Chemicals and Apparatus

    Use and storage

    To use or store chemicals and apparatus associated with illicit chemical manufacture in a workplace, you must meet the following requirements:

    • All general requirements, as described in Chemical Management Key Topics.
    • Special Access Arrangements: in addition to the general safety precautions described in the Chemical Management Guidelines, consider reducing the opportunity for theft or other illegal behaviour with further security measures such as inventory tracking systems.

    Purchase

    When purchasing precursor chemicals or apparatus, you will be asked for an End User Declaration (whose format differs between suppliers).

    More details are available in the Chemical management guidelines.

Forms

Guidance

Processes and Requirements