Safe Work Australia Gearing Up for National Safe Work Month

Australia National Safe Work Month

Safe Work Australia, the agency responsible for developing Australia’s national policy on work health and safety (WHS), is reminding workers and employers alike throughout Australia that October is National Safe Work Month.

For this year, Safe Work Australia (SWA) has chosen the theme “Be a Safety Champion” to encourage employers and workers from every occupation and industry to take the lead in improving work health and safety. To help spread this message to workplaces across Australia, SWA has created a National Safe Work Month Campaign Kit containing wide range of materials including workplace posters, flyers, graphics, social media content and virtual seminars to help educate Australians and generate greater awareness of the work health and safety issues that affect them.

Be sure to check out the Safe Work Australia National Safe Work Month website to access the Campaign Kit and download these helpful resources.

Current Initiatives in Australian Work Health & Safety

In addition to National Safe Work Month, Safe Work Australia is currently working on a number of regulatory initiatives that Australian employers and workers need to be aware of. One of the most significant of these is SWA’s recent announcement that it will align Australia’s model WHS laws with the 7th Revision of the UN’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS Revision 7).

Back in 2017, SWA and the majority of Australian jurisdictions amended their respective WHS laws to align with GHS Revision 3. Since that time, several of Australia’s largest international trading partners including the United States have announced they are updating their chemical hazard communication regulations to align with GHS Revision 7. With this in mind, industry stakeholders have expressed concerns that Australia must align with GHS Revision 7 in order to minimize potential costs to Australian businesses.

In June 2019, Safe Work Australia responded by announcing it would begin a series of consultations to evaluate proposed adoption of GHS Revision 7. The primary goal of the Revision 7 consultations is to engage stakeholders including hazardous chemical users, manufacturers, suppliers, industry associations and government agencies to ensure that implementation of Revision 7 changes can be carried out "in a way which minimizes potential impacts to the industry.” Additional goals of the consultation process include:

  • Educating stakeholders about the changes between GHS Revision 3 and GHS Revision 7
  • Communicating how classifications, labels and safety data sheets (SDS) for some chemical products may be impacted by the proposed changes
  • Seeking feedback on optimal transitional arrangements and timelines
  • Seeking feedback on amendments to the model WHS Regulations to support the implementation of GHS Revision 7

The Revision 7 consultation period concluded in late July and on August 14, SWA published a summary of feedback it received from stakeholders. Key takeaways from the consultation summary include:

  • Stakeholders recognize that there will be additional costs required to update classifications, labels and SDS for some chemical products to reflect new requirements under GHS Revision 7
  • Stakeholders broadly recognize the long-term benefits of maintaining alignment with other GHS-aligned countries, including reduced costs for chemical imports
  • One industry association noted that as Australia accounts for a very small percentage of the world’s production of hazardous chemicals, it is important that local regulatory requirements are consistent with those of Australia’s major trading partners
  • Transitional arrangements are the primary concern for industry, and there is a strong consensus that the timing and manner of the transition to Revision 7 will be the primary factor in a successful adoption
  • Industry stakeholders expressed concerns that chemical products manufactured or imported before the transitional period ends are able to be supplied without needing to meet GHS Revision 7 requirements
  • WHS regulators commented that exemptions for existing stock creates enforcement problems for regulators, because it is difficult for a regulator to determine when a product is supplied or received in the supply chain

Feedback received from the consultation process will ultimately inform a proposal to Safe Work Australia at the end of 2019 on amending the model WHS laws to adopt GHS Revision 7. Safe Work Australia will consider possible transition arrangements, and any other consequential amendments to the model WHS laws to support implementation. For updates on GHS Revision 7 updates, subscribe to Safe Work Australia’s hazardous chemicals mailing list and stay tuned to the VelocityEHS Blog.

Don’t Just be an EHS Champion…Be an EHS Hero!

With October just around the corner, it’s also time for this year’s VelocityEHS Accelerate 2019 User Conference. It’s an exciting opportunity for us and our customers to gather at our Headquarters in the historic Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois to share experiences and best practices, celebrate in style, and chart the path forward to future EHS success.

The theme for this year’s user conference “Be an EHS Hero” echoes SWA’s National Safe Work Month, and reflects our dedication to giving you the tools, resources and know-how to take your workplace EHS management programs to the next level. In other words — to helping you be an EHS Hero! All VelocityEHS customers are invited to attend, but space is limited and spots are filling up fast! Register Today!

Let VelocityEHS Help!

With more than 18,000 customers and 10 million users worldwide, more people trust MSDSonline Chemical Management solutions from VelocityEHS than any other provider to help them ensure chemical safety and compliance, and keep them up-to-date with changes to the GHS and global hazard communication requirements.

Our MSDSonline HQ and HQ RegXR Accounts, along with the MSDSonline SDS / Chemical Management Mobile App give your workers instant, 24/7 access to the industry’s largest database of more than 14 million SDSs to make workplace chemical safety and hazard communication faster and easier than ever before. You also get versatile GHS container labeling capabilities which feature integration with the industry’s leading container label printing solutions from Brady, Avery and Graphic Products to make container labeling compliance quick and simple.

But VelocityEHS is much more than just award-winning chemical management software. From Ergonomics to Industrial Hygiene, Training, Environmental Management and beyond, we offer a comprehensive and easy-to-use SaaS solution to help you tackle your most challenging EHS and sustainability management tasks. Visit us online at www.EHS.com to learn more about our full suite of innovative products and services.

Want to see our EHS management software solutions in action? Request a Demo today or give us a call at +61 2 9098 4332