The rules for managing hazardous substances in the workplace will move from the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 from 1 December 2017.
Worksafe says the aim of the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 is to reduce both the immediate harm to people and longer-term illness caused by hazardous substances in the workplace.
"The regulations bring an expectation on all those working with hazardous substances to know what those substances are, the risks they post and how to manage those risks," says WorkSafe General Manager Operations and Specialist Services Brett Murray.
From 1 December many of the existing requirements will continue, but there are some changes aimed at improving the management of hazardous substances at work.
“If you use or store these substances, you need to look at what has changed under the new regulations to ensure you are meeting your obligations to protect workers,” Mr Murray says.
“If you are following the current rules, you may only need to do a few things differently, but now is the ideal time to review your management of hazardous substances and ensure you are doing your duty to protect people from harm.”
He says businesses will already be familiar with the Health and Safety at Work Act approach to managing work-related health and safety risks. From 1 December this includes hazardous substances.