It is a requirement for workplaces to have a current Safety Data Sheet for hazardous chemicals, prepared by an Australian manufacturer or importer. These are usually provided by the supplier at the time of purchase. A third party Safety Data Sheet can be used as supplementary information.
Schools are likely to have chemicals for longer than 5 years and need to ensure that they have a current Safety Data sheet. This can be done by contacting the Australian manufacturer, importer or supplier, downloading from their website or by accessing the SDS through a subscription to a chemical management system such as Chemwatch/ChemAlert. It would be reasonable for schools to get an updated SDS for hazardous chemicals where the SDS is older than 5 years, on a regular basis such as when they conduct their chemical stocktake.
It is good practice to keep chemicals to a minimum. If the chemical is old it would be wise to confirm if the chemical is still required for the curriculum and if it is still in good condition. If not then we recommend that you dispose of the chemical.
In the event of the manufacturer no longer being in business or in other circumstances where it is not possible to obtain an updated manufacturer's SDS, the most recent SDS prepared by the Australian manufacturer/importer must be kept. A current third party SDS can be used as supplementary information in this situation. It may be appropriate to document this in your chemical register.
Safety Data Sheets must comply with Australian requirements. General information on Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) can be found on the Safe Work Australia website, see: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/sds/pages/sds. If you have any concerns regarding whether your SDS is compliant, then check with the work health and safety authority in your state/territory.
Safe Work Australia. 2016. Model Work Health and Safety Regulations. Safe Work Australia website, http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/model-whs-regulations
Safe Work Australia. 2016. Preparation of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals model code of practice. Safe Work Australia website. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documen...
Victorian Government. 2014. Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007. Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website. http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/L...$FILE/07-54sra020%20authorised.pdf (Link updated October 2017)
Western Australian Government. 2016. Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 1996. State Law Publisher website: https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_... (Link updated September 2018).
WorkSafe Victoria. 2000. Code of Practice for Hazardous Substances. WorkSafe Victoria website. https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/10171/COP24_hazardous_substances.pdf
WorkSafe WA. 2009. Guidance Note: Provision of information on hazardous substances at workplaces. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Department of Commerce website. http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/msds_dec_07.pdf