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Chemicals

Hazardous chemicals are substances, mixtures and materials that carry potential health and physicochemical risks and dangers.

There are several kinds of potential health hazards associated with chemicals. They can include skin irritants, carcinogens or respiratory sensitisers. Such hazards can affect a worker’s health through direct contact with or exposure to the chemical, whether through inhalation, skin contact or ingestion.

Physicochemical hazards arise from physical and chemical properties: for example, flammable, corrosive, oxidising or explosive substances (see also Dangerous Goods).

Legally, a person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers and other people are not put at risk from the business’s use, handling or storage of hazardous chemicals.

The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 implement a system of chemical hazard classification, labelling and safety data sheet requirements based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

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