Safety Data Sheets and the GHS

Safety Data Sheets and the GHS: I need to update all our SDSheets for our chemicals at the High School since the deadline for GHS approaches. Which is the best compliant resource to do so? I am also still waiting for a NSW Departmental guideline on GHS labelling.

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Publication Date: 20 October 2016
Asked By: Petra H
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Safety Data Sheets and the GHS

Expert Answer

Updating SDSs and resources to update SDSs:

Updating Safety Data Sheets is part of the ongoing requirement to have current SDSs. These should be obtained from the manufacturer, usually at the time of purchase. SDSs should be current i.e. less than 5 years old, however as schools are likely to have chemicals for longer than 5 years they will need to update their SDSs accordingly. This can be done by contacting the manufacturer/ supplier, downloading from their website or by accessing the manufacturer's SDSs through a subscription to a commercial chemical management system such as Chemwatch. Access to the Chemwatch web site is provided on the NSW DoE Intranet site for Chemical Safety in Schools (CSIS) package.

NSW Department of Education guideline on GHS labelling:

DoE has issued advice in SchoolBiz article of 10 June 2016 relating to GHS requirements, that includes the following advice:

‘Following recent amendments to the regulation of GHS, it is important to be aware that users of hazardous chemicals are not required to relabel or dispose of existing stock because the label is outdated. GHS compliant labelling will only be required for all products purchased after 31 December 2016. Schools are requested to not undertake any relabelling of stock’.

Text of the entire article can be found on the Intranet site for CSIS on the Asset Management Directorate pages, this is how to get there;

1.       Select ‘A-Z of DoE’ on HOME page, then

2.       Select ‘Asset Management’, then

3.       Select ‘Safety and Compliance’ – on left hand side of page, then

4.       Select ‘Chemical Safety in School’, the SchoolBiz article is the first text item.

The Chemical Safety in Schools (CSIS) package is presently being reviewed, with this being led by the Health and Safety Directorate. Until new advice is forthcoming the current CSIS advice remains the Departmental policy.

by Merilyn Harris on 28 October 2016

Hi Rita. Just on from your comments regarding sourcing current SDSs from Chemwatch. My understanding is that, in most circumstances, the SDS should be from the manufacturer, not a third party. Although Chemwatch has some SDSs from manufacturers, many are produced by Chemwatch. This would mean they do not comply as they are from a third party. Perhaps this, if I'm correct, needs to be made clear.

by Teresa Gigengack on 30 November 2016

Hi Merilyn,
You are correct that schools must obtain a current SDS prepared by an Australian manufacturer or importer. This can be obtained either direct from the manufacturer, importer or supplier or through a chemical management system such as Chemwatch/ChemAlert. Third party SDSs can be used as supplementary information. If you have any concerns regarding whether your SDS is compliant, then check with the work health and safety authority in your state/territory. For more information see a further question https://assist.asta.edu.au/question/4164/third-party-safety-data-sheets-...

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