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WHS P008 Hazardous Chemical Management Protocol

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) The purpose of this Protocol is to establish the University of New England's approach for managing chemicals (procurement, storage, handling, use and disposal) and associated risks that will ensure: 

  1. the health and safety of UNE Representatives, students and visitors; 
  2. the mitigation of adverse environmental impacts; and 
  3. the compliance to regulatory requirements. 
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Section 2 - Scope

(2) This Protocol applies to all UNE Representatives, students, contractors and other personnel at workplaces under the management or control of the University of New England.

(3) This Protocol applies to all chemicals with the exception of the following which are covered in separate procedures and guidelines: 

  1. Radioisotopes;
  2. Asbestos; and
  3. Biological.
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Section 3 - Requirements

Chemical Management Guidelines 

(4) The Manager, Health and Safety shall publish and maintain guidance material with regards to managing chemicals in the workplace. The guidelines will take into account the requirements of the University of New England, processes and relevant legislation, and establish the University's default standards for all hazardous chemical management requirements.

(5) The Chemical Management Guidelines must take into account:

  1. the University and regulatory requirements for all chemicals (regardless of the chemical classification); and
  2. the additional University and regulatory requirements based on the chemical classification, which includes:
    1. hazardous substances;
    2. scheduled carcinogenic substances;
    3. dangerous goods,
    4. controlled substances (poisons), and
    5. other classifications where applicable.

Chemical Inventory

(6)  Heads of Schools and Directors must ensure that all chemicals within their Business Units are recorded into ChemWatch.  The manifest will take into account the following:

  1. chemical classification (hazardous substances, dangerous goods, controlled substance);
  2. storage location; and
  3. quantities.

(7) Where the University-preferred ChemWatch database is not used, the Head of School/Directorate must ensure that the manifest used meets University and regulatory requirements.

(8) The person/s responsible for chemical management are represented on the Hazardous Substance Reference Group.

(9) For more information and guidance in completing a chemical manifest refer to the Chemical Management Guidelines.

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Database

(10) Facilities Management Service Directorate must make available and maintain an SDS database that enables a School/Directorate to store and maintain current SDS's, and compile chemical inventories.

(11) The Head of School/Director may elect to use another SDS Database provided it meets the conditions set out in this document. 

(12) The Chemical Management Guidelines provide further information about the University of New England's SDS database - ChemWatch.

Purchasing/Acquisition

(13) The manager/supervisor must ensure that prior to the purchase/acquisition of a chemical, that:

  1. a current SDS is obtained from the supplier/manufacturer; and
  2. a risk assessment is completed.

(14) For more information and guidance regarding the purchasing requirements of chemicals refer to the Chemical Management Guidelines.

(15) The School/Directorate is responsible for identifying where work with relevant hazardous substances requires appropriate permits, and has acquired these permits or is in the process of acquiring these permits prior to purchase, e.g. Radiation (EPA) licencing, GMO licencing, carcinogens, cytotoxics, scheduled drugs and poisons etc.

Importation 

(16) The Manager/Supervisor importing chemicals must ensure that all regulatory requirements are met, having regard to the following chemical categories as controlled and defined by the relevant Commonwealth jurisdictions:

  1. industrial chemicals;
  2. agricultural and veterinary chemicals;
  3. medicines and medicinal products; and
  4. food additives, contaminants and natural toxicants.

(17) For more information and guidance regarding importation requirements of chemicals refer to the Chemical Management Guidelines.

Chemical Risk Assessment

(18) The manager/supervisor must ensure that all chemicals in their area of responsibility have chemical risk assessments completed prior to use. The depth/complexity of the chemical risk assessment, including generic or individual assessments, will be determined by:

  1. the properties and the associated risks of the chemical;
  2. the environment in which the chemical will be used; and
  3. the activities in which the chemical will be applied.

(19) Risk Assessment Forms will then be stored in TRIM Container A16/3849 and then submitted to the WHS Team via whs@une.edu.au

(20) Risk management forms are located here, in Safety Hub.

(21) Schools and Directorates with facilities containing hazards are restricted to authorised personnel e.g. chemical, biological and radiation labs, by swipe card access (or other) to only those persons who are competent and have received appropriate inductions and training.

(22) Schools and Directorates with facilities containing hazards are to conform to the appropriate Code of Practice and Australian Standard e.g. 2982 and 2243 series. Any repurposing of facilities/rooms for ‘wet labs’ (e.g. chemical/biological research) is to meet these requirements prior to the repurposing, including consultation with Facilities Management Service Directorate and the Work Health and Safety team.

Labelling

(23) The manager/supervisor must ensure that all chemicals are accurately and durably labelled in accordance with University and regulatory requirements.

(24) For more information and guidance on labelling refer to the WHS OP029 Hazardous Chemical Labelling Procedure.

Storage and Handling 

(25) The Head of School/Director must ensure that controls are adopted and maintained that eliminate or reduce so far as is reasonably practicable, the risks associated with the storage and handling of chemicals. For all chemicals this will include ensuring the following:

  1. ready access to a current SDS;
  2. entry onto the department/local area chemical inventory;
  3. availability of a risk assessment to all staff and students who are required to handle and/or store the chemicals;
  4. accurate, clear and durable labelling;
  5. training for staff and students required to handle the chemicals; and
  6. emergency plans suitable to the chemical.

(26) For more information and guidance in the safe storage and handling of chemicals refer to the WHS OP028 Hazardous Chemical Storage Procedure.

Signage and Placarding 

(27) The Head of School/Director must ensure that dangerous goods information, with regards to quantities, Class types and locations are updated at least annually and entered into ChemWatch.

(28) The Head of School/Director must ensure that, where required, placarding is displayed on all main entrances and buildings.

(29) The Head of School/Director must ensure that information with regards to dangerous goods is updated and contained within the Dangerous Goods manifest.

(30) The Head of School/Director must ensure that all signage and placarding within their area of responsibility is in accordance with University and regulatory requirements.

(31) For more information and guidance on signage and placarding refer to the WHS OP029 Hazardous Chemical Labelling Procedure.

Health Surveillance 

(32) The Head of School/Director must ensure that health surveillance/screening is available for staff or students who use:

  1. chemicals listed in Schedule 3 - National Model Regulations for the Control of Workplace Hazardous Substances (NOHSC:1005[1994]); and
  2. chemicals that present a reasonable likelihood that adverse health conditions could occur under particular conditions.

(33) For more information and guidance on health surveillance refer to the WHS OP036 Hazardous Chemical Health Monitoring Procedure.

Training

(34) The Head of School/Director must ensure that the required level of information, instruction and training is available to staff and students handling chemicals. The training must cover the skills and knowledge required to perform activities in a manner that is safe and without risks to health, in so far as is reasonably practicable.

(35) The Manager/Supervisor must ensure that relevant chemical information is included in the local area induction.

(36) For more information and guidance on training refer to the WHS OP032 Hazardous Chemical Training Procedure.

Waste management

(37) The Manager/Supervisor must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that chemicals are acquired in minimum quantities that mitigate or reduce waste.

(38) The Manager/Supervisor must ensure that chemicals are disposed of in accordance with the Facilities Management Service Directorate Waste Management Plan.

(39) For more information and guidance in the disposal of chemicals refer to the WHS OP027 Hazardous Chemical Waste Management Procedure.

Local Area Emergency Preparedness

(40) The Manager/Supervisor must ensure that local emergency procedures are developed and maintained that take into account the physical properties of chemicals including, fire and explosion, environmental damage and the likely health effects if exposure occurs.

(41) Local area emergency procedures must include:

  1. managing spills and leaks;
  2. liaising with Emergency Management Coordinator; and
  3. supporting the University Emergency Management Plan and Emergency Response Plans 

(42) Areas under the School/Directorate’s control should be adequately resourced with Emergency Wardens – staff within the business unit are to fulfil these positions. One Warden and Deputy Warden is required per floor of a building. The School/Directorate is to facilitate the filling of these positions and may obtain advice from the Work Health and Safety team or the Fire Safety Officer (FMS) if required.

(43) Complete analysis to ensure there are adequate trained first aid personnel according to the size, type and function of the work environment:

  1. 1 per 50 occupants* (low risk environment e.g. office)
  2. 1 per 25 occupants* (higher risk environments e.g. workshops and chemistry labs).

(44) Ensure the First Aiders are assigned responsibility for the local first aid kit. *Detailed requirements refer to WHS P005 First Aid Management Protocol and relevant First Aid checklists.

(45) The local area emergency arrangements should be determined during the risk assessment phase.

(46) For more information and guidance on emergency preparedness refer to the Hazardous Chemical Safety Procedures

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Section 4 - Authority and Compliance

(47) The Director Human Resource Services as Procedure Administrator, pursuant to the University’s Work Health and Safety Rule, is authorised to make procedures and guidelines for the operation of this University Protocol. The procedures and guidelines must be compatible with the provisions of this Protocol.

(48) University Representatives and Students must observe this Protocol in relation to University matters.

(49) This Protocol operates from the Effective Date.

(50) Previous Protocols relating to hazardous chemical management have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Protocol.

(51) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this University Protocol, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may approve an exception to this Protocol where the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer determines the application of the Protocol would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome. Approvals by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer under this clause must be documented in writing and must state the reason for the exception.

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Section 5 - Definitions Specific to this Protocol

(52) Controlled Substances – is a classification of pharmaceuticals and poisons that require licensing. Under the license conditions there are restrictions on access, labelling and use. Restrictions are determined by:

  1. Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW)
  2. Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (NSW)
  3. the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No. 16

(53) Dangerous Goods - are solids, liquids or gases, which have been classified as dangerous under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail, 7th Edition (ADG Code 7).  Persons in control of chemicals in this classification must adhere to legislative requirements when transporting and storing.  Safety hazards such as flammability, explosiveness and dangerous reactions are controlled under the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act (NSW, 2008) and Regulation (NSW, 2014)

(54) Hazardous Substance – is a substance that has the potential to cause harm to a person's health and that:

  1. is listed on the HCIS (Hazardous Chemical Information System) and the concentration of the substance or its ingredients equals or exceeds the concentration cut-off levels listed on the HCIS that relate to health effects; or
  2. Meets the criteria for a hazardous substance set out in the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances. (Work Health and Safety Regulation (NSW) 2011.

(55) Safety Data Sheet (SDS) – is a document prepared by a manufacturer or importer of chemicals, which describes the chemical and physical properties, the use, and the health hazard information, the precautions for use, the safe handling information and the emergency information.  

(56) Schedule 5A Carcinogenic Substance – means a chemical (or any of its salts) listed in Schedule 5A of the Work Health and Safety Regulation (NSW) 2011 used:

  1. as a pure substance; or
  2. in a mixture containing 0-1% or more of that substance, determined as a weight/weight (w/w) concentration for solids or liquids and a volume/volume (v/v) concentration for gases.

(57) Schedule 5B Carcinogenic Substance means:

  1. benzene, as listed in Schedule 5B (Work Health and Safety Regulation (NSW) 2011); and
  2. any other substance (or any of its salts) listed in that Schedule used:
    1. as a pure substance; or
    2. in a mixture containing 0-1% or more of that substance, determined as a weight/weight (w/w) concentration for solids or liquids and a volume/volume (v/v) concentration for gases; but
    3. does not include chrysotile or cyclophosphamide as listed in that Schedule.

(58) SDS Database – is an electronic Safety Data Sheet repository and chemical inventory management system implemented by the University of New England that can assist a Faculty/Division meet its chemical regulatory requirements.