Physicochemical hazards generally result from a substance’s physical and chemical properties, as is the case with flammable, corrosive, oxidising or explosive substances.
For the purposes of University procedures, hazardous chemicals include dangerous substances, controlled substances (scheduled drugs and poisons), carcinogens and security sensitive substances. Asbestos and Radiation are covered by separate University policies.
The University has a primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers and other people are not put at risk from the use, handling or storage of hazardous chemicals.
The Code of Practice Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace is a practical guide for achieving the standards of health and safety required under WHS legislation. In most cases, following the Code of Practice will achieve compliance with the health and safety duties of WHS legislation. However compliance may also be achieved by following other methods, such as technical or industry standards, provided these provide an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the Code.
Additional information about hazardous chemicals can be sought by accessing Chemwatch, which is an online chemical database and management program and allows both the access and storage of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and a means of compiling a chemical register for each area (e.g. Lab). Safety Data Sheets are documents that provide critical information about hazardous chemicals.
The Hazardous Chemical Manual sets out the best practices when obtaining, storing, handling, using, and disposing of hazardous chemicals in general. The manual also provides more detail and specific advice on a range of chemicals that pose high physical or health risks if not handled appropriately.