Overview

Hazardous chemicals are substances, mixtures and articles that can pose a risk to health and safety.

What are hazardous chemicals? 

Hazardous chemicals are any substance, mixture or article classified under a hazard category in the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

We use GHS classifications in Australia to communicate chemicals’ properties and dangers through labels, registers and safety data sheets. 

If you manufacture, import, supply or work with these chemicals, you must meet certain work health and safety (WHS) duties to protect people. 

Restricted hazardous chemicals 

These hazardous chemicals are restricted under the model WHS Regulations. 

Restricted hazardous chemical 

Restricted use 

Antimony and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as antimony 

Arsenic and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as arsenic 

For spray painting 

 

Benzene (benzol), if the substance contains more than 1% by volume 

For spray painting 

Beryllium and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as beryllium 

Cadmium and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as cadmium 

Carbon disulphide (carbon bisulphide) 

For spray painting 

Chromate 

For wet abrasive blasting 

Chromium and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·5% (except as specified for wet blasting) as chromium 

Cobalt and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as cobalt 

Free silica (crystalline silicon dioxide) 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% 

For spray painting 

 

Lead and compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as lead or which would expose the operator to levels greater than those set in the regulations covering lead 

Lead carbonate 

For spray painting 

Methanol (methyl alcohol), if the substance contains more than 1% by volume 

For spray painting 

Nickel and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as nickel 

Nitrates 

For wet abrasive blasting 

Nitrites 

For wet abrasive blasting 

Radioactive substance of any kind where the level of radiation exceeds 1Bq/g 

For abrasive blasting, as far as reasonably practicable 

Tetrachloroethane 

For spray painting 

Tetrachloromethane (carbon tetrachloride) 

For spray painting 

Tin and its compounds 

For abrasive blasting at a concentration of greater than 0·1% as tin 

Tributyl tin 

For spray painting 

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)* 

All except for if its use, handling or storage is: 

  • in relation to existing electrical equipment or construction material 

  • for disposal  

  • for genuine research and analysis. 

 

Chemicals not considered hazardous 

Some types of chemicals that are not considered hazardous under the model WHS Regulations including: 

  • infectious substances 

  • radioactive sources 

  • chemicals only hazardous to the environment. 

Furthermore, chemicals are not considered hazardous if they are only classified under the following GHS hazardous categories: 

  • acute toxicity category 5 

  • skin irritation category 3 

  • aspiration hazard category 2 

  • flammable gas category 2 

  • acute hazard to the aquatic environment category 1, 2 or 3 

  • chronic hazard to the aquatic environment category 1, 2, 3 or 4 

  • hazardous to the ozone layer.