What are hazardous chemicals?
Many chemicals, from household items to specialised scientific substances, are used on the University campus. Some of these chemicals may present hazards to individuals, property and or the environment. These hazardous chemicals may have restrictions for procurement, use and disposal.
Handling of hazardous chemicals require inductions and training. Some departments of the University will require additional processes due to the high-risk nature of the activities being conducted within a particular area.
Chemical inventory management
The University is required by law to keep a detailed inventory of all chemicals on campus and to notify regulatory bodies of dangerous goods including hazardous chemicals.
ChemAlert safety management software
Macquarie University currently uses ChemAlert as their safety management system. All members of the University can access ChemAlert to obtain safety information on chemicals and print labels for containers according to the current legal specification (GHS). University members managing the chemical inventory of an area can request authenticated user access.
For further details contact the Health and Safety team.
SciQuest safety management software
The Faculty of Science and Engineering is currently migrating to the SciQuest safety management system, this will integrate the requirements for procurement and storage of chemicals, as well as managing the University chemical inventory of use and disposal.
Working with chemicals
Staff and students of Macquarie University that handle chemicals other than normal household chemicals are required to complete an induction on hazardous chemical safety.
Additional training and processes may be required due to the high-risk nature of the activities being conducted within a work area. These will be discussed with your Supervisor/Manager at the start of your employment or study.
Hazardous chemical safety induction
The general Hazardous Chemical Safety Induction consists of two modules:
- Module 1: an online component
- Module 2: a practical component
The aim of the chemical safety induction is for you to understand the basic principles for managing the acquisition, storage, use and correct disposal of hazardous chemicals. This induction is designed to encourage the engagement of both the trainee (student/staff/volunteer) and their supervisor/manager in matters of safety in the workplace (e.g. laboratory).
The purchase of chemicals at Macquarie University follows different processes depending of the type of substances. A chemical compliance declaration must be provided with your purchase order for all chemicals, including:
- non-hazardous chemicals
- hazardous chemicals require an additional risk assessment and assurance that potential risks are controlled.
- restricted chemicals such as chemical of security concern and scheduled substances may require specific licences, approvals and/or storage. These chemicals require an additional risk assessment and assurance that potential risks are controlled.
Before purchase, it is important to assess the safety relating to the use of the chemicals and potential requirements of the chemical requested. All chemicals must have an available Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that corresponds (from the supplier for the same substance and catalogue number) and is up to date (within 5 years).
For further details on the processes in your area, contact your supervisor, local laboratory manager or purchasing officer.
Safety assessment and risk mitigation
Before using a chemical, MQ staff and students must carry out a safety assessment using information from the SDS. They must also ensure they can access the relevant equipment and facilities for safe use, know about the procedures in case of a spill or incident involving the chemical, and have adequate disposal procedures available
All chemicals must be labelled correctly to allow proper identification of the substance. As of 01 January 2012, Australia adopted the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) under the Work health and safety laws. GHS is now fully implemented from 01 January 2017 and all chemical labelling and safety information must follow these guidelines.
As a general guide, labels must be written clearly and in full English, using the full name of the substances (no abbreviation) and following the requirements of the WHS Regulations, and detailed within the Code of Practice Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals.
Summary of the requirement of labelling for hazardous chemicals:
- written in English
- product identifier (IUPAC or CAS or recognised technical name)
- name, Australian address and business telephone number of either the manufacturer or importer
- identity and proportion disclosed, in accordance with Schedule 8 of the WHS Regulations, for each chemical ingredient
- any hazard pictogram(s) consistent with the correct classification(s) of the chemical
- any hazard statement(s), signal word and precautionary statement(s) that is consistent with the correct classification(s) of the chemical
- any information about the hazards, first aid and emergency procedures relevant to the chemical, which are not otherwise included in the hazard statement or precautionary statement
- expiry date of the chemical, if applicable.
If available additional information to include on label:
- emergency phone number, for specific poisons or treatment advice
- overseas name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer or supplier
- valid website or internet address
- reference to the SDS, e.g. statement on the label: “Additional information is listed in the safety data sheet”
Hazardous chemicals used at the University must not be disposed of into general drains. Waste must be collected into adequate, identifiable and properly labelled containers and taken to the dedicated waste compound.
Requirements for labelling of waste from standard labelling for hazardous chemicals:
- product identifier reflecting the nature of the waste
- identity of any known or likely hazardous constituents or impurities and their proportions
- UN number, CAS number, PG group
- hazard pictogram(s) and hazard statement(s) that are consistent with the correct classification of the chemical.
- relevant precautionary statements
- relevant first aid and safety directions
- any other information that may assist identification of the hazardous waste and its associated hazards
- name, Australian address and business telephone number of the manufacturer (i.e. MQ University)