Site Information and assistance

On this page:

A hazardous chemicals register is a list of hazardous chemicals at a workplace. It includes current SDS for each of the chemicals listed.

  • Under the model WHS Regulations, businesses using hazardous chemicals must prepare a register and keep it up-to-date so workers can easily find information about chemicals stored, handled or used at the workplace.

Chemicals that must be included on the register

All hazardous chemicals that are stored, handled or used at a workplace must be listed on the register except where they are:

  • in-transit
  • consumer products.

Hazardous chemicals are in-transit if they are not used in a workplace and are not kept there for more than five consecutive days.

However, where a workplace frequently has in-transit hazardous chemicals present—or they are present in significant quantities—these should be listed on the register.

Consumer products are those that are packed primarily for use by a household consumer and are used in a way that is consistent with normal household use.

  • For example, laundry detergent packed in a 1 kg container and used once a week by individual staff for washing work clothes is considered a consumer product and would not need to be included on the register. But a 30 kg container of the same detergent used by a commercial laundering business is not considered to be a consumer product and must be included on the register.

Consumer products also include hazardous chemicals used in an office, for example printer toner and whiteboard cleaners.

Chemicals that are not hazardous do not need to be included on the register.

Access to the register

The hazardous chemicals register must be readily accessible to all workers involved in the use, storage and handling of the hazardous chemicals at the workplace.

SDS must be made available to emergency service workers and anyone else who is likely to be exposed to the hazardous chemical at the workplace.

Registers and SDS may be kept electronically, for example on an intranet, provided workers have ready access to a computer and know how to access the register. Otherwise a hard copy should be kept where chemicals are used.

Keeping registers up-to-date

Manufacturers and importers of hazardous chemicals are required to update their SDS at least every five years, and must supply the updated version when they next supply the chemical to a business or on request.

If the recorded SDS in a workplace has not been updated for five years or more, businesses should contact the chemical supplier, manufacturer or importer for the current version.

No qualifications needed to maintain the register

The person maintaining the hazardous chemical register does not need any specific qualifications, but they should to be competent to carry out the task.

  • For example, they should understand what chemicals must be included on the register and how to assess whether a compliant SDS has been recorded for each chemical. 

International safety data sheets

The model WHS Regulations provide that the hazardous chemical register must contain SDS. These are usually prepared by the Australian manufacturer or importer, however, in some cases you should have both an Australian and overseas SDS.

While SDS prepared overseas usually doesn’t meet our requirements, some are prepared specifically for Australia and will meet our requirements.

  • Businesses should request a compliant SDS from the chemical’s supplier.

Importers of hazardous chemicals should review any international SDS to make sure they comply with the model Code of Practice: Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals. The SDS may need to be amended to make sure it includes the correct details, which include:

  • Australian emergency contact information
  • disposal considerations, transport information and regulatory information relevant to Australian laws.

Hazardous chemical manifest

A manifest is a written summary of hazardous chemicals with physical and acute toxicity hazards that are used, handled or stored at a workplace.

  • A manifest is only required where the quantities of those hazardous chemicals exceed the threshold amounts listed in Schedule 11 to the model WHS Regulations.

The primary purpose of a manifest is to provide emergency services with information on the quantity, classification and location of hazardous chemicals at the workplace. It also contains information such as site plans and emergency contact details.

A manifest must comply with the requirements of Schedule 12 to the model WHS Regulations and it must be updated as soon as practicable after any change to the amount or types of chemicals being used, stored, handled or generated at the workplace.

The relevant WHS regulator must be given written notice if hazardous chemicals that exceed the manifest threshold quantity are used, handled or stored—or are to be used, handled or stored—at the workplace.

Please note that South Australia has a separate dangerous substances licencing scheme. If you are located in South Australia please contact SafeWork SA.

Manifest versus register

A manifest is different to a register: a manifest is only required where hazardous chemicals present at the workplace exceed the specified manifest threshold quantities. It is intended primarily for emergency services personnel to use where they must respond to an emergency at the workplace.

Hazardous chemical placard

Placards are special types of signage required at workplaces that store hazardous chemicals above the placard quantities. Placards provide warnings about the stored hazardous chemicals and contain specific information for emergency service personnel.

Different types of placards include:

  • outer warning placards
  • placards for packaged goods
  • bulk storage placards.

Placards must be legible and kept up-to-date.

Comprehensive information about placarding requirements can be found in Schedule 13 to the model WHS Regulations.

Placard requirements under the model WHS Regulations

Placarding of hazardous chemicals under the model WHS Regulations is very similar to placarding under the previous laws.

The form and dimensions of the placard remain the same and class labels from the ADG Code continue to be used to identify hazardous chemical storage locations at workplaces.

Hazard categories under the GHS can be used to determine the placarding and manifest quantities for hazardous chemicals, however GHS pictograms are not used for placarding.

Placarding requirements are set out in Schedule 13 to the model WHS Regulations.

Manifest and placard threshold quantities

Table 1 shows placard and manifest threshold quantities of hazardous chemicals, as set out in Schedule 11 to the model WHS Regulations.

The final column shows the equivalent classes of dangerous goods under the ADG Code. A printable version of the table is available here: Placard and manifest requirements under the model WHS Regulations

Table 1: Placard and manifest requirements of hazardous chemicals

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 ADG code classification
Item Description of hazardous chemical Placard quantity Manifest quantity
Hazard class Hazard category
1 Flammable gases Category 1 200 L 5,000 L 2.1
2 Gases under pressure with acute toxicity, categories 1, 2, 3 or 4 Note—Category 4 only up to LC50 of 5,000 ppmV 50 L 500 L 2.3
3 with skin corrosion categories 1A, 1B or 1C 50 L 500 L 2.3
4 aerosols 5,000 L 10,000 L 2.1 or 2.2
5 not specified elsewhere in this Table 1,000 L 10,000 L 2.2
6 Flammable liquids Category 1 50 L 500 L 3 (PG I)
7 Category 2 250 L 2,500 L 3 (PG II)
8 Category 3 1,000 L 10,000 L 3 (PG III)
9 Any mix of chemicals from Items 6–8 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 L 10,000 L  
10 Category 4 10,000 L 100,000 L Note 3
11 Self-reactive substances Type A 5 kg or 5 L 50 kg  or 50 L GTDTBT—Note 4
12 Type B 50 kg  or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 4.1 (Type B)
13 Type C–F 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg  or 2,500 L 4.1 (Type C–F)
14 Flammable solids Category 1 250 kg 2,500 kg 4.1 (PG II)
15 Category 2 1,000 kg 10,000 kg 4.1 (PG III)
16   Any mix of chemicals from Items 12–15 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 kg or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L  
17 Pyrophoric liquids and Pyrophoric solids Category 1 50 kg  or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 4.2 (PG I)
18 Self-heating substances and mixtures Category 1 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L 4.2 (PG II)
19 Category 2 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L 4.2 (PG III)
20   Any mix of chemicals from Items 17–19 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L  
21 Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gas Category 1 50 kg  or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 4.3 (PG I)
22 Category 2 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L 4.3 (PG II)
23 Category 3 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L 4.3 (PG III)
24 Any mix of chemicals from Items 21–23 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L  
25 Oxidising liquids and Oxidising solids Category 1 50 kg or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 5.1 (PG I)
26 Category 2 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L 5.1 (PG II)
27 Category 3 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L 5.1 (PG III)
28 Any mix of chemicals from Items 25–27 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L  
29 Organic peroxides Type A 5 kg or 5 L 50 kg or 50 L GTDTBT—Note 4
30 Type B 50 kg or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 5.2 (Type B)
31 Type C–F 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L 5.2 (Type C–F)
32 Any mix of chemicals from Items 30 and 31 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L  
33 Acute Toxicity Category 1 50 kg or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 6.1 (PG I) – Note 5
34 Category 2 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L 6.1 (PG II)
35 Category 3 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L 6.1 (PG III)
36   Any mix of chemicals from Items 33–35 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L  
37 Skin corrosion Category 1A 50 kg or 50 L 500 kg  or 500 L 8 (PG I)
38 Category 1B 250 kg  or 250 L 2,500 kg or 2,500 L 8 (PG II)
39 Category 1C 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L 8 (PG III)
40 Corrosive to metals Category 1 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L 8 (PG III)
41   Any mix of chemicals from Items 37–40 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 1,000 kg  or 1,000 L 10,000 kg or 10,000 L  
42 Unstable explosives   5 kg or 5 L 50 kg or 50 L GTDTBT—Note 4
43   Any mix of chemicals from Items 11, 29 and 42 where none of the items exceeds the quantities in columns 4 or 5 on their own 5 kg or 5 L 50 kg or 50 L  

Notes:

A. South Australia has a separate dangerous substances licencing scheme. If you are located in South Australia please contact SafeWork SA.

B. Where a placard is required under Schedule 13 to the model WHS Regulations, the relevant dangerous goods class label (or ‘diamond’) must be displayed on the placard, not the corresponding GHS pictogram.

(1) For the purposes of this table, if a flammable liquid category 4 is used, handled or stored in the same spill compound as one or more flammable liquids of categories 1, 2 or 3, the total quantity of flammable liquids in categories 1, 2 or 3 must be determined as if the flammable liquid category 4 had the same classification as the flammable liquid in the spill compound with the lowest flash point. 

For example: For placard and manifest purposes, a spill compound containing 1000 L of flammable liquid category 1 and 1000 L of flammable liquid category 4 is considered to contain 2000 L of flammable liquid category 1. 

(2) For item 2 in the table, gases under pressure with acute toxicity category 4 only applies up to a LC50 of 5000 ppmV. This is equivalent to division 2.3 dangerous goods under the ADG Code.

(3) Only flammable liquids with a flash point of up to 93 °C are classified as hazardous chemicals under the WHS Regulations and the GHS. C1 combustible liquids with flashpoints between 93 °C and 150 °C are not classified as hazardous workplace chemicals.

(4) GTDTBT means goods too dangerous to be transported.

(5) Division 2.3 under the ADG Code includes gases and vapours classified as acutely toxic (categories 1, 2 and 3) and gases that are corrosive to skin (category 1).

Further advice

SWA is not a regulator and cannot advise you about registers, manifests and placards compliance. If you need help, please contact your state or territory work health and safety authority.

This site is undergoing constant refinement. If you have noticed something that needs attention or have ideas for the site please let us know.

Last modified on Monday 27 March 2017 [1936|32656]