Almost 700 hazardous substances under review for workplace risk

An investigation is underway into nearly 700 hazardous substances or mixtures including chemicals that generate dust, vapour, fumes and gases, that circulate within the breathing zone of a worker in Australian workplaces.

Safe Work Australia has engaged technical experts to review the current Workplace Exposure Standards (WES) and the result may require operations in all sectors, including the printing and packaging areas and others that have work processes that use these substances or generate gases, dusts, vapours or fumes, to modify control measures so factories remain compliant with health and safety laws.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has released a compliance advice regarding the matter and is seeking input from its members about the review, how the proposed changes to Workplace Exposure Standards may impact their business and, if the impacts are going to be significant, how this can be factored into discussions Ai Group will have ongoing with Safe Work Australia.

The AI Group is also interested to know about potential issues printing and packaging producers may have in implementing the required changes.

AI Group is running a webinar on December 12 about the review. Click here here to register. AI Group has also set up a dedicated webpage with information about the review here.

“In relation to the substances or mixtures used or produced in your business, do you have any concerns that a change in the WES will make it difficult for your business to remain compliant with the laws? If it will be easy to comply with the WES, we want to know that as well,” the AI Group said in a statement.

“Ai Group has the opportunity to influence how the recommended levels might be implemented, including the length of transition periods, but we can only do so if we have good information from our members about the potential practical impacts.”

The evaluation reports are being released in batches with the final report due on April 10, 2020.

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