Hazardous Substances

Keep on top of Hazardous Substances
to prevent health issues

Did you know that dangerous goods and hazardous substances are classified according to different criteria?

Hazardous substances are defined in terms of their direct health effects on people whereas dangerous goods are defined by their physical and chemical properties.

However, there is a large overlap between the two groups so that some items are both a ‘hazardous substance’ and a ‘dangerous good’.

Many employees regularly use hazardous substances as part of their everyday work. If they’re unsure of how to use and handle them safely the substances may be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. This can lead to serious health issues such as cancer, skin disease, poisoning and respiratory illness.


As an employer, you are legally responsible for the identification and control of any hazardous substances within the workplace. Some of the things you may be required to do include:

Undertake a risk assessment
Keep a Hazardous Substance register
Label all hazardous substances in the workplace
Obtain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)/Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the supplier
Ensure the SDS’s are reviewed at least every 5 years
Determine how to eliminate or reduce any risks
Inform and train your staff about the identified risks
Keep a register of staff induction and training

Regulations in this area are changing constantly. Under the model Work Health and Safety legislation that came into effect in January 2012 hazardous substances and dangerous goods will be classified as hazardous chemicals in line with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). This new system will have a 5 year transition period.

Give us a call if you’d like to know more about how the new laws affect you and what you need to do about them.

JTA Health, Safety & Noise Specialists also offer guidance around Hazardous Materials. JTA’s team of Specialists service all Australian cities including Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Hobart, also now servicing New Zealand.


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