The following chemical hazards: carcinogenicity, asthma and contact dermatitis are national priority disorders in the first five years of the Australian Strategy. These priority disorders were chosen based on the severity of consequences for workers, the number of workers estimated to be affected and the existence of known prevention options.
Tens of thousands of potentially hazardous chemicals are used in Australian workplaces. To focus national efforts on preventing exposure to the most serious of these chemicals, Safe Work Australia agreed to develop a list of ‘priority chemicals’ within 18 months of the Australian Strategy commencing.
In March 2013 the process for prioritisation began. Candidate chemicals were identified through:
- nominations from Safe Work Australia Members (representing industry, workers and regulators)
- consideration of the key international restrictions, such as the European Union Council Regulation (EEC) 793/93 and European Chemical Agency Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern lists
- a systematic approach that considered both the quantity of chemicals used in Australia and their associated hazards, and
- recommendations from Australian Government reviews (for example, from National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme NICNAS review reports).
So far over 150 chemicals have been assessed and a draft list will be prepared for consideration in early 2014.
Safe Work Australia will release the proposed list of priority hazardous chemicals in 2014 and then develop associated interventions over the life of the Australian Strategy.
For more information visit Communique 13.