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Chemical safety

This section contains obligations for all managers and staff who store, use or dispose of chemicals, whether in administrative, teaching or research duties.

Many chemicals used in the University are regulated as "hazardous substances" and "dangerous goods".

A hazardous substance is one that has the potential to harm someone's health. Thousands of hazardous substances, including asbestos and carcinogens, are regulated by the OHS Act. Hazardous substances are classified on the basis of health effects, both immediate and long-term.

A dangerous good is a substance that is corrosive, flammable, explosive, spontaneously combustible, toxic, oxidising or water-reactive. Dangerous goods are classified on the basis of immediate physical and chemical effects on property, the environment or people. Dangerous goods are regulated by the Dangerous Goods Act 1985.

(These working definitions are from WorkSafe's guides for hazardous substances and dangerous goods. In the legislation definitions are by reference to national and international classification systems.)

Some chemicals can be both a hazardous substance and a dangerous good. Further, some hazardous substances and dangerous goods are defined as "drugs" or "poisons" under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic), and are subject to a permit system. There are also additional requirements with some chemicals including Carcinogens, Asbestos and Lead.

Manager Responsibilities

Manager responsibilities and systems for the safe management of chemicals

Guidelines and forms - hazardous substances and dangerous goods

This online system takes you through the steps in carrying out a hazardous chemical risk assessment. The system relies upon you having a material safety data sheet that uses European risk statements.
Chemwatch has also functionality to help you carry out a risk assessment - refer to the ChemWatch webpage.

    To LOG IN to  Chemwatch use this link:  Access ChemWatch allow 30 seconds to fully load


Identification of Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Substances


Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information about chemicals


The use of nanomaterials may be inherently hazardous or become hazardous under certain conditions.


The management of asbestos containing materials (ACM)

Poisons and Drugs

Management of Poisons, Drugs and other Controlled Substances


The management of carcinogens

Chemical Weapons Convention

Responsibilities when using chemicals under the Convention


There are special requirements where lead is used

Manufacturing and supplying hazardous substances or dangerous goods

Responsibilities when making chemicals and / or supplying chemicals to others.

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