Risk assessment versions

Risk assessment versions: Can you please tell me what the difference is between the EC version of a risk assessment and the GHS version?  The Pearson Lightbook comes with both.

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Publication Date: 03 February 2016
Asked By: Jackie
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Risk Assessment

The difference between the two types of risk assessment relates to which classification system is being used for the hazardous chemicals. Until recently, chemicals in all jurisdictions in Australia were classified according to the ADG code and the NOHSC (National Occupational Health and Safety Commission) Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances [NOHSC:1008(2004)] 3rd Edition, which is based on EC (European Commission) directives from 1967 and 1999 and their amended versions. A GHS-based risk assessment would use the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) classification system, which is an international system introduced to enhance chemical safe handling and transport and provide a basis for the harmonisation of chemical regulations at a worldwide level. Under the GHS, Risk and Safety phrases are replaced by Hazard and Precautionary statements.

Currently, most—but not all—of the states and territories in Australia are in transition from using the ADG/NOHSC classification system to the GHS system, as part of the harmonisation of our Work Health and Safety Legislation.

The hazard classification of a chemical determines what information must be included on labels and Safety Data Sheets. Schools need to follow the work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction. Science ASSIST recommends that you follow the information relevant to the classification system that operates in your jurisdiction. Without comparing the documents that you refer to, we would expect that the safety information for the risk assessments would be similar.

Additional information

For more detailed information regarding the classification, and therefore the labelling, of workplace hazardous chemicals, as well as the jurisdictional progress for the adoption of the model work health and safety laws, see the following Safe Work Australia webpages and the links therein:



Science ASSIST has produced an information sheet regarding labelling systems: see AIS: Labels for school science chemicals


‘Hazardous chemicals’, Safe Work Australia website. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/pages/hazardous-chemicals-other-substances  (Accessed February 2016)

‘Model work health and safety laws’, Safe Work Australia website. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-laws/pages/model-whs-laws (Accessed February 2016)

National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC). 2004. Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances [NOHSC:1008(2004)] 3rd Edition. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documen...

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