Regulations for schools to ensure the health and safety of people in the workplace who are exposed to chemicals or hazardous substances and to ensure they are stored and handled appropriately.
Yes – if your school has any hazardous substances on its premises.
A workplace must comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic). These regulations are designed to protect the health of people in the workplace who are exposed to chemicals or substances that are hazardous and to ensure that dangerous goods are stored and handled appropriately.
To comply with the requirements of the Hazardous Substances Regulations, your school must undertake the following actions:
- Identify Hazardous Substances in all areas of the school
- Maintain a register of all Hazardous Substances used in the school
- Obtain MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for all identified and suspected Hazardous Substances.
- Keep the MSDS accessible to employees
- Ensure that containers of Hazardous Substances are correctly labelled
- Conduct a risk assessment on each hazardous substance and/or process in which they are used
- Control the risk using the Hierarchy of Control (or preferred order of control)
- From the above, determine whether atmospheric monitoring or health surveillance is required (preferably eliminate substances and procedures in which such monitoring would be required)
- Ensure that staff and supervisors have received sufficient information, instruction and training to handle these substances
- Ensure employees can demonstrate competencies with regard to safe work practices as prescribed in the Code of Practice
- Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of control measures.
- The hazard identification, risk assessment and control process should be undertaken in consultation with users of the chemicals and the relevant Health and Safety Representative (HSR)
- Each step in the process must be documented.
You could be penalised under breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).
- Vic DET: Resources – Hazardous Substances (contains links to Acts, Regulations, Codes of Practice and other support material)
- Vic DET: School Policy and Advisory Guide – Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Substances
- Vic DET: School Policy and Advisory Guide – Safety management
- Vic DET: Student Safety