During the planning of any procedure involving chemicals and prior to purchase, potential hazards must be identified and the risks assessed.
This ensures that all staff, students and visitors are aware of potential hazards, and that appropriate handling techniques and control requirements are in place to minimise risk to personnel and University property.
Regulations 5.15 - 5.18 of the OSH Regulations 1996 specify the legal requirements for conducting and documenting risk assessments for hazardous substances. They require the assessment of the risk of injury or harm to a person as a result of exposure to hazardous substances, including:
Assessments must be repeated if:
Assessments must be available at all times.
Supervisors (e.g. research supervisors and laboratory supervisors) are responsible for ensuring risk assessments are conducted in the workplaces under their control. Risk assessments can be prepared by those proposing to do the work. The workplace supervisor endorses the risk assessment to verify that it has been checked and that hazard control measures will be implemented prior to commencement of work. The supervisor is also responsible for ensuring risk assessments are stored, available and reviewed as required.
Finally, the Head of School or a person with formally delegated signatory authority must sign off the risk assessment to allow the work to commence.
A chemical procedure risk assessment form must be completed prior to the start of any work involving hazardous chemicals. To complete a chemical procedure risk assessment the assessor must identify:
With this information the risk can be assessed and ranked, and the procedure can be approved if the risk is insignificant or sufficiently controlled. If the risk is significant and adequate controls are not in place the procedure can not be approved, and the work and controls need to be revised.
Conducting thorough risk assessments will ensure that:
ChemAlert should be used to obtain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous or dangerous chemical.
Where a single chemical is used in accordance with the manufacturers intend use, a ChemAlert risk assessment is required.
When mixtures of chemicals are used, a Chemical Process Risk Assessment form must be completed. Please refer to UWA Safety and Health website, Task and Activity Planning page.