School policies: In the first instance, you need to be guided by the policies and directives as set out by your school jurisdiction for the requirements of your chemical register. According to the WHS Regulation 2011, the minimum information that a chemical register should contain is a list of all the hazardous substances in a workplace and the SDSs for all the hazardous substances listed. There are however some states in Australia that require the addition of extra information. For example, both Vic and WA have a requirement to note the hazardous nature of the chemical as well as the provision of a risk assessment.
Science ASSIST has developed a List of recommended chemicals for science in Australian schools that will help in the development of a chemical register. The list is constantly updated to reflect changes to safety data and practices in school science and currently contains 454 chemicals that are recommended for use for science in Australian schools. The list can be downloaded as a Microsoft Excel file and customised by removing rows of chemicals that do not apply to your school. Extra columns can also be added for any additional information required by your particular jurisdiction. The list also contains all the relevant GHS hazard codes and phrases.
SafeWork Australia has a GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List, which contains a search function for many chemicals. The document is a work in progress and is constantly updated.
A chemical register is required for compliance with health and safety legislation.
Science ASSIST recommends that for school science areas the chemical register contains a complete list of all the chemicals that are stored and used. This provides a good source of information for science staff and is helpful for the management of the chemicals.
A 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.
We have provided detailed information regarding chemical registers in the answer to a previous question, see Chemical Registers. We also recommend that you read the information, including the referenced Safe Work Australia publications, in particular the Hazardous Chemicals Register Information Sheet.
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015C00519
‘Hazardous chemicals register fact sheet’ Safe Work Australia website. https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/hazardous-chemicals-register-fa...(Accessed May 2016)