Chemical Registers

Chemical Registers: In NSW, what information should be included in our Chemical Register? I have read the NSW Workcover's Code of Practice for Managing the Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace and in Section 1.6 it talks about the difference between a register and a manifest. Given the quantities of various chemicals we store in the school, is it necessary to have a manifest, or do we only need the simpler register? In either case, what information should be included in this register/manifest?



Average: 5 (1 vote)
Publication Date: 13 August 2015
Asked By: Anonymous
Showing 1-2 of 2 Responses

Chemical Registers

It is important for workplaces to know the types of chemicals that are located on their premises, as well as the quantities present and where they are stored. Chemical registers and manifests are required to assist workplaces to monitor and manage these chemicals. You are correct that it is the quantities of certain chemicals that determine whether a register or manifest is required. Safe Work Australia have produced a very helpful factsheet concerning this topic see

Chemical Register:

A chemical register is an inventory of hazardous chemicals that are used, handled and stored at a workplace. In order to produce a chemical register, a chemical stocktake is usually carried out in all areas of the workplace. The Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations 2011 states that a hazardous chemical register needs to be produced and kept up to date. It must be readily accessible to all staff and be available in the event of an emergency. The minimum information that a chemical register should contain according to the WHS Regulation is a list of all the hazardous substances in a workplace and SDSs for all the hazardous substances listed.

Chemical Manifest:

A manifest is more detailed than a chemical register and is only required where hazardous chemicals, that are also classified as dangerous goods##, are present at the workplace and where their quantities exceed certain amounts.  You must prepare a manifest if 'any Schedule 11 hazardous chemicals are above the prescribed limits’ (see Appendix D of the Safe Work Australia ‘Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace – Code of Practice’, July 20142). In the event of an emergency at a workplace, manifests are intended to inform emergency services personnel of the amount, location and types of chemicals that they may be dealing with.  Compared with the requirements for a register, a manifest will contain additional information such as the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) classes, ADG packing group, size of containers and the location on the worksite.   

Recommendations for school science areas

It is a legal requirement for all workplaces, including schools, to produce a hazardous chemical register, which is reviewed annually and is available to all staff. It is also a legal requirement that your school should have a chemical manifest, if your school has hazardous chemicals that exceed the specified limits. This requirement can also be used to determine if a licence is required to hold the hazardous chemicals in the exceeded limits.

The majority of schools do not store anywhere near the quantity of dangerous goods requiring a chemical manifest. Exceptions may be schools with large quantities of dangerous goods, for example schools with LPG tanks with a capacity of 5000 L or more, or manifest quantities of other hazardous chemicals, such as swimming pool chlorine.

Science ASSIST recommends for school science areas, that the chemical register contains a complete list of all the chemicals that are stored and used. This is a good source of information for science staff and is helpful for the management of the chemicals.

When producing a chemical register Science ASSIST recommends the following information is included:


Items to include

Reason for inclusion

Chemical name

required by WHS Regulations


to know where to source the Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

SDS available and date issued

required by WHS Regulations

Hazardous nature of the chemical Yes/No

to indicate its hazardous nature

A note that a risk assessment is available

required by some jurisdictions**

Location of each chemical

to know where it is stored

Quantity of each chemical

to know how much you have for stocktake/security purposes

ADG class(es)

to help with storage and segregation

required by some jurisdictions**

Packing Group

required by some jurisdictions**

Poison schedule

required by some jurisdictions**

GHS classification

to help with GHS labelling requirements

Signal word

to help with GHS labelling requirements

Additional optional inclusions


CAS Number

For unambiguous identification of the chemical

Recommended by some jurisdictions

UN number

Useful for when labelling chemical waste

Recommended by some jurisdictions

Chemical formula


Size of container


Date of purchase


This register will then provide:

  • documentation that is required by law;
  • a check of the type and quantity of all chemicals stored;
  • a check that a current SDS is available for each chemical;
  • a check that chemicals  are stored and segregated properly;
  • a check that chemicals are labelled correctly.

As part of a chemical management system, the register can be produced and maintained as an electronic spreadsheet (e.g. MS Excel or by using an online chemical inventory database such as Chemwatch Gold FFX or ChemAlert). Additional information may be included, but may make the spreadsheet difficult to manage.

It is also a good idea to keep a printed copy in the area where the chemicals are generally used.

A good source of information that may help in the development of a chemical register is the Science ASSIST List of recommended chemicals for science in Australian schools resource.

The chemical register should be:

  • updated when new chemicals are purchased or disposed of, or their location changes; and
  • reviewed annually to ensure all information is current.

State specific information

**Notes for jurisdictions not under the WHS:

It is important to confirm with your jurisdiction the requirements for your chemical registers.

Both Victoria and WA have a requirement to note the hazardous nature of the chemical as well as the provision of a risk assessment.

For some state-specific information see the following links.

Qld: See and 

SA: See (login required)

Vic: See

WA: See

## Dangerous goods are substances that have been classified as dangerous goods in the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code). For more information on dangerous goods see  and


1 NSW Department of Education and Communities ‘Chemical Safety in Schools (CSIS)’ resource package. NSW DEC website DEC Intranet, login required.

2 Safe Work Australia ‘Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace – Code of Practice’, July 2014, NSW WorkCover website (link changed April 2018)

‘Hazardous chemicals register fact sheet’ Safe Work Australia website.  (Accessed August 2015)

WorkCover NSW

Work Health and Safety Act 2011:

Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011:

Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice 2011:

by Merilyn Harris on 24 August 2015

Thank you for a very clear, detailed answer to my question. The information is really apprecaited.

Chemical Registers

Hi there,

Your website is very good and helpful for labtechs like us. It is really big task and still done in very professional manner. So congrats and thanks to the team working for this work.

I have suggestion regarding this current topic of register.

Can you please make the chemical register sheet available in excel in case anybody wants to use straight away. 


With regards

Nehal Trivedi

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