Page 5392 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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In 2015 the territory adopted the asbestos regulation chapter into the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. This meant that the last remaining chapters to be adopted are those that regulate hazardous chemicals and major hazard facilities, specifically, chapter 7 and chapter 9 of the national model work health and safety regulation. This bill now seeks to establish the framework and technical changes needed in order to adopt chapter 7 and chapter 9 and the consequential changes to the dangerous substances framework that exists in the territory. The more substantive and detailed regulation of hazardous chemicals and major hazard facilities will follow in an amending regulation once this bill is enacted.

The national model chapters 7 and 9 have already been adopted by New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the commonwealth. Also, more recently, parts of those chapters in relation to a uniform classification and labelling system were adopted by Victoria.

Significantly, the new model chapters will introduce a number of changes to the regulation of hazardous chemicals. Firstly, the classification, labelling and packaging of hazardous chemicals will move over to the United Nations globally harmonised system of classification and labelling of chemicals, known as the GHS.

The GHS is a universal and internationally accepted methodology for chemical classification, labelling and safety data sheets. It uses a common set of pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements to communicate information about a chemical. The GHS ensures that users are given a reliable and easy to understand set of information about chemical hazards and preventative and protective measures for their health and safety.

As well as improving health and safety outcomes in relation to the storage and handling of hazardous chemicals, using the GHS in the territory will also introduce internally consistent assessment criteria, labels and safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals. Critically, the general safety duties relating to the management of hazardous chemicals in the workplace will not change as a result of using the GHS.

Secondly, the amendments will change the approach to regulating hazardous chemicals to a more risk-based approach. This new approach will reduce the overall regulatory burden on businesses and allow regulator resources to focus on those areas of greatest risk. The biggest difference will be that the requirement to register with the regulator in relation to the storage and handling of dangerous goods will shift from a placard quantity level to a level in excess of manifest quantities.

The amendments in this bill will commence on 29 March 2018. This date has been chosen for a number of reasons. It will allow businesses in the territory time to engage with their suppliers to ensure that chemicals supplied into the territory from 29 March 2018 meet the new classification, labelling and packing requirements.

To a large extent we expect that businesses in the territory are already receiving hazardous chemicals supplied in accordance with the national model laws. This is because all jurisdictions surrounding the territory now require hazardous chemicals to

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